According to Newsweek, a Russian professor investigating the mysterious sleeping illness affecting residents in Kalachi believes the disease could spread.

“The disease is characterised by the fact that the sick immerse [themselves] in unusually long sleep, while to bring them into full consciousness is practically impossible on the first day,” says professor Leonid Rikhvanov from the Department of Geo-ecology and Geo-chemistry at the Tomsk Polytechnic University in Russia, who has spent four years studying the area. Worryingly, he says that the long-term effects of the disease are unknown and so far unstudied.

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