Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Medical: Scores of Chechen children hit by mystery illness

Russian doctors have blamed a chemical found in antifreeze for a mystery disease that has affected scores of Chechen children. Symptoms include hysteria, panic, shortness of breath, vomiting and diarrhoea, prompting concerns that they could have been targeted by chemical weapons.

However, Doctor Muminat Khadzhayeva, has said that ethyl glycol which is found in anti-freeze is likely to be the cause. It is not clear how the children became affected but they could have ingested polluted ground water.

Reuters reports that it had also been suggested the disease could be caused by stress brought on by Chechnya's 11-year war, and President Vladimir Putin ordered extra help for the children.