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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Friday, March 10, 2006

Just really weird out of Chechnya

I'm a bit of a follower of bionews and human epidemics, and this one out of Chechnya is truly bizarre. The working medical hypothesis seems to be mass delusion brought on by prolonged stress, but I don't see how you get similar symptoms so close in time and so seperate geographically. Just bizarre. (LATimes)
SHELKOVSKAYA, Russia — It started just after the midafternoon recess. As they lined up to return to class, Zareta Chimiyeva saw a girl in front of her collapse and begin convulsing wildly. Only a few minutes later, Zareta was at her desk when she smelled "a bad smell," and started feeling ill....

When Zareta woke up in a hospital, it took three adults to hold her down. She was thrashing and clutching her throat, unable to get a breath, screaming in terror. She wasn't alone. Thirteen other girls were in nearby hospital rooms, also saying they were unable to breathe, many of them shrieking and crying.

The next day, 23 students and seven teachers in a neighboring village fell ill with similar symptoms. About the same time, four dozen children in two towns a little farther away also began clutching their throats, screaming and convulsing.

They have yet to get better. The outbreak began Dec. 16....

So, four months later, these kids are still showing symptoms? This is the kind of think that might come from moldy bread(ergot/LSD poisoning,) but the length of time is extreme, and it's not clear if the "smell" was external or a manifestation of the disease.

But this is the kind of thing that got people diagnosed as witches way back when.

Just an oddity in a personal area of interest.


  • very odd.. or a nerve agent from a long forgoten Soviet stockpile has breached it's casing/

    By Blogger Left of Center, at 6:43 PM  

  • Could a manmade toxin do that? Yeah, the symptoms sound similar to...what's that rye fungus that may have poisoned American colonists?

    By Blogger Leslie, at 7:00 PM  

  • Leslie, that's ergot mold, a natural producer of something very similar to LSD. That's kinda where I'm leaning at this point, but the dosage would've had to have been huge for the length of affect. It would've had to have been enough to scramble their psychology so deeply...

    And, it certainly could be something manmade, I don't know of anything off the top of my head, but certainly after 70 years of chemical weapons testing, you gotta figure that there's stuff out there that would affect people in all kinds of ways.

    Also, how would it only affect selected school children, leaving others untouched, and have a multiple town exposure.

    I'm thinking some sort of food or water contamination, possibly something manmade, possibly not, some packaged product that only these kids consumed, but, even though this is in the middle of war ravaged Chechnya, basic epidemiology would have pinpointed that right away.

    I just don't know, that's why this fascinated me.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 8:19 PM  

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