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Economist Examines Emergence Of Konzo, Nodding Syndrome Among Children In Africa

The Economist examines the emergence of two childhood illnesses in Africa, Konzo and nodding syndrome, “two particularly nasty … neglected illnesses [that] cause suffering and death, and more subtly, when they affect children, eat away at a country’s potential by reducing the human capital of its rising generation.” The magazine writes, “Nodding syndrome, which affects between 5,000 and 10,000 children in South Sudan and Uganda, was first noticed in the early 2000s, though something similar has been known from southern Tanzania since the 1960s.” The magazine continues, “Konzo is older. It was identified in 1938 in what was then the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). It has since been found to occur sporadically over a wide area of central Africa.” The magazine notes, “Both diseases create muscle-control and cognitive problems.” The Economist examines potential causes of the diseases (9/7).

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