Kazakhstani medical experts have been left scratching their heads over a mysterious sleeping illness that has led to residents of a town in the north of the country falling asleep for days at a time.
Kalachi, a town in the Akmola Region, has been given the title Sleepy Hollow , with one in ten of its residents having been struck down by the unexplained illness in the last two years.
The first case was confirmed in 2013, but locals say that the disease has been present in the town as early as 2010.
Since then it has grown rapidly, with a reported 126 cases confirmed.
In the summer of 2014, 60 people were brought into hospital suffering from the disease that leaves patients suffering from dizziness and memory loss, as well as knocking them unconscious for days at a time.
In September, eight children collapsed with the disease following a school assembly.
Locals say that in the last month there has been another spate in the number of reported cases.
Despite the high numbers of sufferers, there is still no explanation for what is causing the illness.
Examinations by doctors have ruled out the disease being caused by an outbreak of meningitis, while scientists say that there is nothing in the town’s water or soil that could be bringing on the bouts of deep sleep.
Locals believe that the disease could have been brought about by disused uranium mines nearby that were closed over 20 years ago but this has yet to be proven.
The Kazakhstan government has now decided to relocate villagers from the town, with the completion of this set for May 2015.Reuse content