Nodding syndrome in Kitgum District, Uganda: Association with conflict and internal displacement

Jesa L. Landis, Valerie S. Palmer, Peter S. Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objectives: To test for any temporal association of Nodding syndrome with wartime conflict, casualties and household displacement in Kitgum District, northern Uganda.

Methods: Data were obtained from publicly available information reported by the Ugandan Ministry of Health (MOH), the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data (ACLED) Project of the University of Sussex in the UK, peer-reviewed publications in professional journals and other sources.

Results: Reports of Nodding syndrome began to appear in 1997, with the first recorded cases in Kitgum District in 1998. Cases rapidly increased annually beginning in 2001, with peaks in 2003-2005 and 2008, 5-6 years after peaks in the number of wartime conflicts and deaths. Additionally, peaks of Nodding syndrome cases followed peak influxes 5-7 years earlier of households into internal displacement camps.

Conclusions: Peaks of Nodding syndrome reported by the MOH are associated with, but temporally displaced from, peaks of wartime conflicts, deaths and household internment, where infectious disease was rampant and food insecurity rife.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number006195
JournalBMJ open
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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