Help us prevent nodding disease

What is nodding disease?

Nodding disease, or nodding syndrome, is a form of epilepsy that occurs in children between the ages of five and fifteen in South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The disease is characterised by mental deterioration, stunted growth and seizures during which the head nods. Cases of nodding disease have been reported in Tanzania since as early as 1960. In the 1990s, an epidemic of nodding disease broke out in South Sudan and Uganda.

How do people get this disease?

Probably more than one hundred thousand people in several African countries have developed epilepsy due to an infection transmitted by the black fly. When this fly bites, it can transmit a parasitic worm that also causes river blindness. This worm may directly or indirectly harm the brain and cause epilepsy.

How can we fight nodding disease?

Prof. Colebunders and his research team concluded that more can be done to combat river blindness. Approaches include administering ivermectin to the population twice a year, and also killing the larvae of the black fly. Children suffering from nodding disease should be treated early on with anti-epileptic medication. It costs less than 10 euros a year to suppress most of these children's epileptic seizures. This may seem cheap to us, but most families in the affected regions cannot afford it, especially when several children in the same household suffer from the illness.  

Want to know more about our nodding disease research? Be sure to check out the website.

Support this project

Tax relief

Did you know that donations of 40 euros or more are 45% tax deductible? This is an extra incentive to provide maximum support to fight nodding disease.

Here’s how you can contribute.

Step 1 - Donation

There are two ways to donate:

  • By bank transfer to bank account number BE42 7310 4624 7854 in the name of 'Universiteit Antwerpen'. Be sure to mention 'fiscaal attest' (tax certificate) and your preferred destination, in this case: 'Nodding Disease', in the communication field.
  • By online payment, where you can indicate your preferred destination straight away.

Step 2 - Donation form

In order to allocate your donation correctly, we recommend you to also send us the donation form where you indicate your preference for the destination of the amount again.

Send the filled in form:

- digitally: email it to ( a scan or photo are sufficient)


- by post:  Universiteitsfonds Antwerpen - Middelheimlaan 1 M.A.223 - 2020 Antwerpen