Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Origin (CKDuo)

If this were an issue in the Western World, it would dominate the news.  There would be a call to action and unlimited resources would be applied to find the cause.  But it is not a Western World problem.  The fact is CKDuo affects those that are unable to share their situation.  They have no access to the western media, so most of the world has never heard of their plight.  It is an unknown epidemic.

CKDuo is a devastating sickness, whose presence has been confirmed in six countries of Central America, Sri Lanka, and India, and is suspected to be present in 14 other countries worldwide. The disease slowly causes deterioration of kidney function and is typically not discovered in an individual until a significant amount of this function already has been lost. In Nicaragua, the disease mainly affects male farm workers, although miners, port workers, and construction workers have also been known to be affected.  Confirmed deaths from the disease worldwide are greater than 50,000 since 2000 although poor reporting makes actual numbers hard to come by.  As the name implies, the cause of this disease is currently unknown, but we have been researching how contaminated drinking water relates to CKDuo. It is currently the only comprehensive research being conducted on water in conjunction with the sickness. The common causes have been ruled out as triggers, but we are tenacious in determining the cause.

So, what do we know?  On one hand, one could say not much.  We have not found the cause.  The many years of research have produced no answers to the cause.  Over 180 suspected contaminants have been eliminated.  But, on the other hand, one could say that is a lot.  We are looking at a new disease with a cause that has eluded scientists and researchers for years.  Thus far, research techniques have produced no answers.  A new approach is warranted.

Nelson was just a teenager when he contracted the disease.  We met him when he was 20 years old.  The disease had taken its toll.  His body was weak.  Even standing was a challenge.  At that point we provided a two small water filter bottles that only filtered using activated carbon.  About 3 months later we provided him a larger bucket style filter with microbial removal and activated carbon.  Clean water is the only thing that changed in his life.  One year later, the change in his health was phenomenal.  We have heard other stories how this treated water has improved health in the region.

Water Journeys is venturing out in faith to evaluate activated carbon’s role in solving this mystery.  We have chosen a community called Quitanka (pop. 1,750) outside Chichigalpa, Nicaragua to conduct this study.  Reports from a local pastor state that 50% of the male population has the disease.  The goal is to monitor those with the disease to determine if the disease advances over a three year period.  We will be checking for new cases of the disease to see if they diminish also.  A smaller version of the treatment system is also scheduled where the men work to ensure the quality of the evaluation.

Would you care to help change the lives of those in Quitanka?