In a previous blog, Mystery
disease outbreak in Ethiopia solved
, I mentioned in passing Nodding Syndrome (NS), a neglected
condition that is epidemiologically associated with onchocerciasis and affects children
5-15 years old. 

The syndrome causes epileptic seizures where the afflicted
suffer from involuntary head nodding, usually triggered by food or cold. They end
up severely disabled and, without treatment, finally die.   It is
devastating communities in northern Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Cameroon.

As I reported at the time: “The USA’s Centre for Disease
Control is working to identify the cause: so far, the best guess is that it’s
linked to the parasite that causes river blindness combined with an autoimmune
reaction, and exposure to chemicals could predispose.”

I now hear that an international workshop was held on this
subject in Uganda, First
International Scientific Meeting on Nodding Syndrome (NS)
, with
the key objective to set a standardized case definition for suspect
and probable cases of NS.

I also hear that the journal African Health Sciences is to
devote an entire issue to the syndrome and is currently looking for authors to
contribute papers on NS/epilepsy. (Very necessary since there are literally just
a handful of research papers on the subject so far).

You can submit papers online to the journal at:
queries can be sent to: James K Tumwine, Editor in Chief African Health
Sciences: Email:;;

I acquired this information through my membership of HIFA2015 and would encourage readers to
join this excellent forum of health workers, publishers, librarians,
information technologists, researchers, social scientists, journalists,
policy-makers…(you name it we have it).  HIFA2015
is a campaign and knowledge network with more than 5000 members
representing 2000 organisations in 167 countries worldwide, with
the aim that “By 2015, every person
worldwide will have access to an informed healthcare provider”.

You might even wish to become a HIFA2015
Country Representative
: their
role is to engage new members
and champion HIFA2015 goals in their countries. We are currently looking for  country representatives in China, Central and
Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Eastern Mediterranean Region. YOU can
register your interest when you join via the website.


Uganda: Nodding Syndrome
Symptoms Controlled, Hunt for Cure Continues

Investigation into
the Nodding syndrome in Witto Payam, Western Equatoria State, 2010.
Sudan] This url takes you to our Global
Health database

CDC Responds to Nodding
Disease in Uganda
  Youtube video

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