Global & Disaster Medicine

Konzo, a food-borne illness that paralyzes the legs and back, has been raging in Feshi territory in southwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)’s Kwango province for several months.

DigitalCongo

“……Le konzo est une maladie qui attaque les membres inférieurs et la colonne vertébrale,  provoquant une déformation physique déplorable et souvent irréversible. Cette maladie est provoquée par la consommation d’une variété de manioc très amer qui devait normalement rester trempé dans l’eau au moins pendant quatre jours pour éliminer le cyanure avant d’être consommé...…”

 

Cassava, konzo, and neurotoxicity

Published: September, 2017
“…….Cassava (Manihot esculenta) forms part of the staple diet for more than 600 million people across the world, particularly those that live in poverty and remote areas where food security is poor…..

Cassava contains cyanogenic glucosides (linamarin and lotaustralin) that are released as hydrogen cyanide….. For human consumption, the plants need to be detoxified, usually by soaking, drying in the sun, boiling, fermentation, or grating with roasting.These processes allow the cyanogenic glucosides to be released, but depend upon traditional practices, time taken, and the availability of water. Neurotoxicity is associated with incompletely detoxified cassava, although the exact mechanisms by which these compounds cause neurological damage is unclear……”
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