In 2013, a strange sleeping sickness epidemic hit Kazakhstan, and why is still a mystery.
On a March day in 2013, something strange and unexplained happened in the small village of Kalachi, in Kazakhstan. Residents started mysteriously falling asleep, not being able to stay awake for more than a quick bathroom visit or a small meal.
When those affected woke up from what media called the “sleeping sickness”, usually days later, they had no memory of what had happened.
The first time a sleeping epidemic was reported in Kazakhstan was in 2010, in village not far from Kalachi. The sleeping sickness reemerged in media in 2013, when eight of the 640 residents of Kalachi suddenly fell asleep over one March weekend.
The sleeping sickness continued to claim victims throughout the months that followed, and confused scientists who could not find a reason behind it.
When the otherwise healthy adult awoke from their deep slumber, the had no memory recalling what had happened to them, and couldn’t even remember waking up for cigarettes, meals and bathroom visits. It was like nothing had happened to them at all.
At one point, over 100 people had been simultaneously affected by the sleeping sickness, and upon awakening felt dizzy and nauseous with hallucinations, and were sometimes even violent and aggressive.
Even though no scientific explanation has been proven the cause of the Kazakh sleeping sickness epidemic, the government has accused the high levels of carbon monoxide and other hydrocarbons in the air, coming from nearby soviet era uranium mines.