Wednesday May 14 2014

Nodding disease children flown to US for a study

By Agatha Ayebazibwe

A group of family members affected by the nodding syndrome has been flown to the US for a genetic study, according to the ministry of Health.
The study seeks to establish whether the syndrome is a genetic disorder and also establish the cause of the disease.

The cause of the disease remains unknown years after it was first diagnosed in Lamwo District – Acholi sub-region in 2009.
Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the minister of Health said 10 people, some with the nodding syndrome and others without it, will spend a week at the National Institute of Health in Washington, US to provide sample for the study.
The six-month study will be conducted in collaboration with Uganda’s ministry of Health, Centre for Disease Control US and Makerere University School of Public Health.

The study comes on the back of an ongoing autopsy which commenced last week following physical observations on brain tissues [samples] from five people that is being studied at CDC headquarters in Atlanta.
Dr Jane Aceng, the director general of health services at the ministry of Health, said the brain tissues of three out of the five samples were found with lesions [wounds] in the same region.

She however said the fourth sample presented differently. The four were compared with an epileptic brain tissue but were found to have no similarities.
Dr Rugunda told Journalists in Kampala yesterday that out of the 5,182 cases reported by 2012, 3,220 were confirmed cases of nodding syndrome while 1,962 were found to be epilepsy attacks.