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Kazakhs Stricken With Mysterious Symptoms Examined In Astana

ASTANA -- Four patients suffering from a mysterious "sleeping disease" have been brought from the remote village of Kalachi to Kazakhstan's capital for treatment for the first time after the phenomenon became public in March 2013.

Dozens of residents of Kalachi, in the northern Aqmola region, have complained of somnolence, loss of memory, and hallucinations.

Thousands of tests have been conducted by local clinics, but the cause of their problems has not been discovered.

Many in the village of 680 fear the symtoms are related to an abandoned mine where uranium ore was mined for decades before the 1991 Soviet collapse. They have asked the government to relocate them.

Temirlan Karibekov of the National Scientific Medical Center told RFE/RL on January 7 that a clear and detailed diagnosis will be made in several days, after the patients are thoroughly examined.

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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Radio Azattyq has been an important source of information for people in Kazakhstan for decades. In 2009, Azattyq won the prestigious 2009 Online Journalism Award for "standing in defense of citizen’s rights to seek and receive information."