While the Hollywood fantasy zombie seems to be a far stretch of the imagination, it seems that there is actually a “real” zombie occurrence that makes it seem slightly less like a stretch of the imagination.

The zombies I’m talking about are nowhere near the dangerous human race destroying hordes that the movies portray. They’re more akin to being unlucky souls afflicted by an uncertain disease that causes zombie like symptoms.

What is this incurable zombie maker?

The zombie disease I’m talking about is referred to as “nodding disease”, and it’s a baffling illness. It has affected a large number of children in Africa starting with the first recorded occurrences in Sudan sometime in the 1960’s. From there it appears to have spread at a slow pace to other countries such as Libya and Tanzania.

It only recently appeared in Uganda, and in alarmingly high numbers. This could be of large concern since it could mean the disease has become more transmittable and harder for the immune system to fight.

Some of the zombie like symptoms this disease causes are seizure, personality changes, aimless wandering, random acts, and it’s been reported but unreliably that some victims have shown increased violent behavior.

It appears that uncontrolled seizures followed by a non-responsive state in which the children simply nod their heads for extended periods of time- is the main symptom of this disease. There are reports that each time the child has a seizure that they loose more and more of their mental capability.

These children often require 24/7 supervision, and some parents are reporting that before they can leave the house to tend the garden or even use the restroom they have to restrain the children, usually with torn pieces of soft cloth or linens.

And their need to be restrained isn’t out of cruelty. These poor children have been found to escape and wander about set fire to the buildings in their community.

A CNN article had this to say about how the disease affects the host: “There are other bizarre symptoms. Often the children will wander off by themselves and get lost in the bush. And other children will start fires, according to parents and medics in the field. Others appear confused and traumatized. We were told that several houses in areas we visited had been burnt down by children suffering from nodding disease. More than 200 deaths have been reported from these ‘secondary’ incidents.”
Health Organizations Struggling For a Solution

Both the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the WHO (World Health Organization) have been tracking this disease and looking for cures for a long time. As of yet there has been no marked advancement in finding a cure, a solution or even the cause.

The best evidence they have so far as to where the disease comes from is that a majority of the cases of nodding disease happen in areas inhabited with black flies. A common carrier of diseases such as “river blindness”-which is the second leading cause of infectious blindness.

The link is speculative at best since 7 percent of the children’s cases are in areas not inhabited by this pest. Certain vitamin deficiencies have been found in these infected zombie children, but these deficiencies aren’t uncommon from other parasitic infections, malnutrition and fungal infections.

Even the nature of the seizures cause hair tussling confusion to experts. Most seizures are brought on by specific triggers or follow some kind of singular cue or pattern, but these seem to be random, and triggered by things such as changes in the weather, foods and other random events.

Local nurses are even afraid to touch the children because they don’t know where the disease comes from, and don’t know how it’s transmitted. Children are often left soiled and drooling after a seizure.

Medications have been largely ineffective; although anti-epileptic medications used to control seizures appear to slow the onset of symptoms- but hasn’t appeared to stop the progress of the disease.

Could it be Heading Here?

While this appears to be a regionally isolated disease most likely caused by a local factor, one can never completely rule out the possibility that a disease could mutate and spread.

Viruses have been proven to quickly adapt in the right conditions and kill of millions of people globally. We may be focused on the global financial crisis and volatile social issues we’re being bombarded with, but I definitely think this is worth looking into for our future safety.

What are your thoughts about this disease? Could it be the possible cause of the zombie apocalypse you either dream about of fear? Hop over to our Facebook page and tell us what you think at www.facebook.com/prepcabin .