Kazakh village – where a strange disease causes everyone to sleep

A strange sickness has struck the people of Kazakh village of Kalachi. They simply doze off at any time of day and remain unconscious for several days.

Since March 2013, one-third of the people in a village in Kazakhstan’s Esil District of the Akmola Region have been suffering from a weird sleep sickness.

Sleep Hollow in Kazakh village of Kalachi

Humans with Sleep Hollow suffer from a ‘possible’ medical condition that causes them to sleep for days or weeks at a time. It was first reported in March of 2013, and more than a few hundred people have died as a result.

This was unusual because the illness could strike at any time. You could fall asleep while walking down the street, eating, or conversing with friends. This slumber stage can last anywhere from three to four days. When the victim finally wakes up, he will be disoriented, bewildered, and have a partial memory loss.

The condition also causes vomiting, hallucination, nausea, and disorientation, in addition to excessive sleep. Hallucinations such as a “snail walking over their face” are common among the disease’s victims.

Animals are also affected. After waking up, the animals occasionally display a burst of hyperactivity.

There have also been occasions where the victim was inebriated but did not entirely slumber. During the sleep hollow conundrum, they looked to be bewildered, partially paralysed, and experiencing vivid hallucinations.

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Kazakh village


When eight students fell asleep at the school within an hour, the local of Kazakh village of Kalachi realised the sleep hollow was becoming worse. The symptoms were the same for all of the children. On one occasion, more than sixty patients were hospitalised on the same day to the same clinic.


Doctors tried everything they could to help the patients, but the odd sickness defied all explanations. They thought the patients were suffering from the side effects of counterfeit vodka at first, but as the epidemic spread, they began diagnosing people with “encephalopathy of unknown origin,” a catch-all term for a variety of brain disorders.

The doctors tried the air, the soil, and every other channel they could think of but were unsuccessful. Many suspected local uranium mines, which were shuttered once the Soviet Union fell apart, leaving Krasnogorsk a ghost town. Although it discovered elevated radium levels in certain households, this was insufficient to explain the phenomenon.

What caused it then?

Kazakh village of Kalachi

The enigma has finally been addressed, and the cause is undoubtedly the uranium mines, according to Kazakhstan’s deputy prime minister, Berdibek Saparbaev. Researchers found that it was caused by elevated levels of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons in the air after analysing the findings of all the residents’ medical checks.

“At some point, the uranium mines were closed, and there is a concentration of carbon monoxide there,” Saparbaev added. “As a result, the oxygen in the air is depleted, which is the true cause of sleeping sickness in these areas.”

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