More Cases of Mysterious Illness Reported in Chechnya

Over 90 people have come down with a mysterious illness in Chechnya. Authorities still have no definite cause for the outbreak that is mainly affecting children. Two more cases in neighboring regions were reported on Saturday (12-24).

In November, a terrorist attack with the use of strong poisons was prevented in North Caucasus near Chechnya. The poison cache was discovered on the Chechen-Ingush border. Terrorists intended to use two types of poison. One of them is a cyanide poison and the other is still unknown. Experts believe that the use of minimal doses of these poisons in public places could have led to many victims.

A Chechen doctor inspects a girl in the childrens hospital at the Chernorechenskaya village outside Grozny. Dozens of children in war-torn Chechnya have come down with a mysterious illness that doctors and emergency workers said may have been caused by poisoning.(AFP/Khasan Kaziyev)

Two more communities reported cases of the mysterious illness that has affected mostly children in Chechnya’s Shelkovskaya district.

A schoolgirl was taken to Shelkovskaya district hospital from Privolnoye early on Saturday, and a female worker from school No. 1 in the village of Chervlyonnaya was also reported to be sick, the Shelkovskaya district hospital told Interfax on Saturday.

Ninety people have shown similar symptoms in the district over the past several days. Seven people have been discharged from the district hospital after their health status improved.

The spread of the disease has been a source of increasing concern for the Chechen population, despite active efforts taken by the government commission to explain the possible reasons behind the disease to locals.

On Friday (12-23) Russian officials issued a final diagnosis attributing an illness that has mainly affected children and teenagers in Chechnya to “psycho-emotional stress.”

Other doctors are reporting ethyl glycol as the culprit. Another doctor in Dagestan, quoted by Reuters, said the victims had probably ingested the chemical through a contaminated water supply.

Another child was hospitalized today with the mysterious disease in what Russian authorities are calling a psychological disorder.

A Chechen dissident in London today (12-26) asked for an international inquiry into the mysterious disease.

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