Pakistan: Mysterious ‘solar kids’ baffle medical community

The mystery illness of three Pakistani brothers has baffled the medical community, which is trying to diagnose the ailment that leaves them paralysed after sunset.

Shoaib, Rashid and Ilyas Hashim — aged one, nine and 13 — are residents of Mian Kundi, a village 15 km from Quetta. They are like normal kids during the day, full of energy, but once the sun sets in, they are unable to move.

Known as the “solar kids”, the children get back their energy and start moving around once the sun rises.

The three have been admitted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad. “It is a rare medical condition we have never encountered before,” says Dr Javed Akram, the Chancellor.

According to the early diagnosis, the three may be suffering from a congenital disease called Masthenia Syndrome,  a rare illness with only 600 cases reported worldwide so far. “Their bodies are clearly synced to the movement of the sun,” says Dr Akram.

Their father Hashim, a security guard at a university, says his sons were born with the condition. “Their bodies appear to be dependent on sunlight,” Hashim says.

Hashim, married to his first cousin, has three more children who are normal. “The three boys are like normal children and two go to the madrassa. The sun rays appear to give them energy. But as soon as the sun starts setting in, their strength and energy vanish and their bodies are paralysed,” he says.

“What is good,” says Dr Akram, “is that their illness has shown no signs of worsening and there might be a cure for them.”

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