Cat affected by 'sleeping sickness' in Kazakh village

Yelena Zhavoronkova, a resident of the village of Kalachi in the Akmola region of Kazakhstan, claims that the mysterious 'sleeping sickness' has affected her cat named Marquis.

Yelena Zhavoronkova, a resident of the village of Kalachi in the Akmola region of Kazakhstan, claims that the mysterious 'sleeping sickness' has affected her cat named Marquis.

The cat turned aggressive, started pouncing on walls and the dog, and bit the woman late on Friday. The animal kept behaving this way until 3 a.m., after which it suddenly fell asleep, Zhavoronkova, who earlier experienced several fits of the mysterious sickness herself, told Interfax.

She said the cat is not reacting to any external stimuli and could not be woken up.

As for people, more Kalachi residents have been hospitalized with 'sleeping sickness' symptoms lately.

Kabdrashit Almagambetov, the chief surgeon of the Yesil district hospital, told Interfax two more women had been taken to the hospital on Friday evening, one of them being the wife of a district lawmaker, who had fallen asleep with similar symptoms earlier.

Seven people, including two children, are currently staying at the district hospital with the 'sleeping sickness'. The head of the village administration, the district lawmaker, and a four-year-old girl are receiving treatment at a hospital in Astana.

According to medical workers, 114 people from Kalachi suffering from symptoms of 'encephalopathy of an unclear origin' have turned for medical help since March 2013.

Kalachi residents started to complain of somnolence, loss of memory and hallucinations in March 2013. All of them were diagnosed with encephalopathy of an unknown origin, which locals colloquially dubbed "a sleeping sickness."

Numerous panels have conducted thousands of tests but have so far been unable to detect the cause of the disease. The Akmola regional administration started resettling the villagers to another location in 2015.

The village of Kalachi, which has a population of 680, is part of the Krasnogorsky rural district. It is located 600 meters from the former urban-type settlement of Krasnogorsk - which had a population of 6,500, most of whom were miners. Nowadays the town is called Krasnogorsky and its population has shrunk to 130. The town was operated by an ore mining department of the former Soviet Union and uranium ore was mined there from the 1960s to the 1990s. Uranium production there ceased in 1991-1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union. The mines were shut down and the land was reclaimed.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.