Cuba eye epidemic baffles US expert

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The Independent Online
Carleton Gajdusek, a virus expert helping Cuban doctors to identify the cause of an eye disease affecting thousands of people in the island, said the epidemic was unique in his experience, Reuters reports from Havana.

Dr Gajdusek, the 1976 Nobel Medicine Prize winner, Gajdusek, is a specialist in neurological diseases from the US National Institutes of Health. He arrived in Cuba on Wednesday to join a team of international specialists helping to investigate the illness, which attacks the body's nervous system and has affected more than 25,000 people in Cuba. Victims suffer disruptions to their eyesight, muscle disorders, problems of co-ordination and painful cramps. The epidemic has hit Cuba at a time when it is in the grip of an economic recession marked by shortages of food and medicines.