As many as six siblings have reportedly become paralyzed one after another in a community in Nasarawa State.
Six paralysed members of the Danladi Bawa family in their home at Gitata, Panda, Nasarawa State, on Wednesday. NAN photo
The victims and everyone around them describe their uncommon problem as “strange.”
To anyone who is not conversant with medical issues, the paralyses of six siblings, one after the other once they turned 18, is truly befuddling.
As reported in March, the six adult children of one late Danladi Bawa had each become paralysed immediately they reached adulthood.
The victims’ parents, Mr. and Mrs. Danladi Bawa, had died in 1990 and 2017 respectively; but their children claimed that neither of them suffered any debilitating disease and that they died of natural causes.
It was thus a puzzle for the now adult children when they started experiencing paralysis, one after the other long before their mother’s demise last year.
The six siblings, comprising four male and two female, all paralysed, reside in Gitata, Keffi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
The Nation quoted the first male child in the family, Danlami, as saying: “Our parents did not die of this disease.
“There are eight of us siblings, and six of us are currently paralysed.
“Those of us who have clocked age 18 and above discovered that we gradually became paralysed. We don’t know what is happening to us or the cause of this kind of disease.”
Danlami, the report said, has lived with paralysis for 12 of his 38 years. He said he became paralysed in 2006. His five other siblings also live with the debilitating condition.
“I am the second child of our parents. I was paralysed in 2006. What disturbs us most is that six of us got paralysed when we were above the age of 18. We don’t know what is happening to our family.”
Danlami said even their efforts to seek medical attention for their affliction did not yield anything, as the doctors they allegedly saw told them that nothing was wrong with them.
“We all visited the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, in Nasarawa State; and Godiya Clinic in Jabba Local Government Area of Kaduna State, but after a series of tests, the doctors told us that nothing was discovered to be wrong with us,” Danlami said.
According to The Nation, other children of the family who are also paralysed are the first child of the family, a female named Asabe, who is married with five children.
Others are Pius, Maikasuwa, Danjuma and Cecelia, in that order of birth.
The remaining children that are yet free of the paralytic affliction are the last two — Hanatu, a female; and Joshua, a male.
A search on the internet however revealed that what the patients and their doctors felt was a strange disease has a medical explanation.
A British doctor/retired haematologist-oncologist, Annabelle Baughan, who has also suffered what the Danladi children are experiencing, said the affliction is known as Primary Periodic Paralysis.
“It is a rare genetic disorder that describes several disorders of spontaneous muscle weakness or paralysis that may last from minutes to days.
“There are many triggers of the condition, and they include medication, exercise, certain foods, or stress,” Baughan explains.
Baughan currently suffers from what she calls ‘Andersen Tawil Syndrome with hypokalemic/normokalemic,’ confessing that it actually took a long time for her diagnosis to be arrived at.
She was diagnosed at the age of 64, when she has had the symptoms for almost 50 years.
Her symptoms were always attributed to other diseases or to psychological distress.
Baughan revealed that there is a wide variation in the age of symptom onset, ranging from just after birth to late adulthood — as is the case of the Danladi children; noting that victims typically begin to experience (paralytic) attacks before they reach the age of 20.
Another research said the age of onset ranged from six to 42 years; while clinical pictures varied from partial paralysis of the lower limbs (paraparesis) to severe quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs).
“Primary Periodic Paralysis affects individuals of both sexes and all races,” Baughan said.
A research published in peer-reviewed journal, Brain, notes that, “Diagnosis of Primary Periodic Paralysis requires a history of transient episodes of weakness, determination of ictal and steady-state serum potassium levels (electromyogram) and exclusion of secondary causes.”
Meanwhile, the Danladi family on Wednesday said they suffer neglect and discrimination.
The oldest male child, Danlami, made this known when correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria visited the family at their home in Gitata, Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
According to him, some friends, relatives and residents of the area have deserted them because of the nature of their sickness; though a handful of the people they had known before the crisis had stood by them.
“To be sincere, I don’t have people around me again as before,” he said.
Danladi said that it was only when people move closer, give them a sense of belonging and show them love that their health would improve.
He added that the discrimination against them was worsening their health and standards of living.
He expressed regrets that despite the reports of their affliction in the media, their state government has yet to come to their aid.
The seventh child, a female who is free of the disease, Hannatu, said, “I am the one taking care of my brothers and sisters. I wash their clothes, bathe them and cook for them before going to school.
“In fact, because of their situation, I always wake up very early in the morning to prepare something for them and at times, I will be late for school.
“My prayer is for God to heal my brothers and sisters and to protect us from the strange diseases,” she said.
She appealed to the Federal and state governments, as well as well meaning Nigerians to help them through the provision of foodstuff, medical needs and economic empowerment to improve their standard of living.
– Via Punch Metro