Mysterious Sleeping Epidemic In Krasnogorsk

In the Soviet era, Krasnogorsk was a secret and 'closed' uranium mining town run directly from Moscow. In those days, the population was 6,500, but now it is ghost town. Scientists are struggling to identify the cause of a 'sleeping epidemic' (encephalitis) among the 130 remaining residents and in the nearby village of Kalachi in Kazakhstan (pop. 680), which causes victims to doze off for up to six days at a time. Weakness, drowsiness, dizziness and memory loss are also symptoms. There are even fears that an elderly man was buried alive before the epidemic was diagnosed. The illness was allegedly first reported in March 2013, and has come in a number of waves - for example in May 2013, New Year 2014, and May 2014. About 60 people have been affected so far. Some residents even keep bags packed in case they need to be whisked to hospital. The epidemic is thought to have some connection to the disused uranium mine nearby, but what that connection might be is a mystery. Almost 7,000 experiments have been conducted, with everything tested from loca vodka to radiation, and including analyses of soil, water, air, blood, hair and nails. So far, all have come back inconclusive.

Two children who have suffered the sleep epidemic were struck by hallucinations. Misha Plyukhin told how he saw light bulbs and horses flying around him, and then saw his mother with eight eyes and a trunk. Then he recalled snakes and worms in his beds, eating his arms. Rudolf Boyarinos saw something too, but he does not remember. His relatives say four of them had to calm him when he shouted 'monsters!'. The boys are back at school but seem to struggle to cope with their studies while adults report headaches and memory loss.

Abandoned Uranium Mines in Krasnogorsk
Local speculate that the problem arises after a sudden rise in temperature, but this has not been corroborated. While some scientists claim uranium gas evaporates from the mine, other claim it has seeped into local rivers.

Dr. Kabdrashit Almagambetov, chief physician in the district capital Esil, treated Alexander Pavlyuchenko, who fell into a long slumber while on a visit to the local cemetery. He awoke insisting he had been on a fishing expedition. "When the patient wakes up, he will remember nothing," said Dr. Almagambetov. "The story is same each time - weakness, slow reactions, then fast asleep. Sadly, the nature of this condition is still unknown. We have excluded infections, we checked blood and spine liquid, nothing is there." Radon gas is seen as a possible cause, but the doctor is sceptical. They have discounted underground gas and the local mobile phone mast. They tested homes for radon gas. Tests on high radiation levels, heavy metal salts, bacteriological and viral tests have proved negative. He said, the patient wake up a maximum in one hour after hospitalized. These people sleep for two day to six days, so what is the concentration of this gas then? And why does one person fall asleep and somebody who lives with him does not?

Scientists in Tomsk say they are convinced it is from a very different cause. Kazakhstan's Environmental Protection and Water Resources Minister Nurlan Kapparov pledged few months ago to discover what caused the encephalitis outbreak in residents. So far, it remains unsolved, with the Tomsk scientists so far unable to travel to Kazakhstan.

Fortean Times Magazine Vol. 316 July 2014: "Strange Days - The Big Sleep...";

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Fortean Times Magazine Vol. 316 July 2014 page 8 Is the mine responsible for the rash of hallucinations among local children?

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