Troubles socio-émotionnels de l’enfant en milieu konzo, un syndrome paralytique de nature épidémique associé à une intoxication cyanhydrique d’origine alimentaire en afrique sub-Saharienne

Translated title of the contribution: Socioemotional disorders in children living in Konzo-affected areas, an epidemic paralytic disease associated with cyanide poisoning from food in sub-Saharan Africa

Daniel Okitundu Luwa E-Andjafono, Marie Therese Sombo Safi Ayanne, Guy Bumoko Makila-Mabe, Jean Pierre Banea Mayambu, Dieudonné Mumba Ngoyi, Michael Boivin, Jean Jacques Tamfum-Muyembe, Daniel Tshala-Katumbay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: the aim of this study was to describe the socioemotional profile of children living in Konzo-affected areas, an epidemic toxico-nutritional palsy in sub-Saharan Africa. Methods: we evaluated the socioemotional profile of 210 children, 123 with Konzo and 87 presumed to be healthy (4-17 years) based on a structured interview conducted with their parents during an epidemioclinic survey of Konzo in Congo-Kinshasa in 2011. Neurocognitive profile was identified by the KABC-II, the BOT-2 and the global neurological symptom index of Konzo. Associative tests were carried out by using chi-square test, logistic regression and, where applicable, generalized linear model, at the significance threshold of 0.05. Results: in general, irritability, physical violence or inhibition with or without sadness were found in 46.0%, 30.2%, 18.7% of children respectively, with an increased risk of Konzo (OR = 2.6; CI95%: 1.4-4.8; p = 0.001). Socioemotional disorder was associated with underweight (OR: 0.49; CI95%: 0.31-0.78; p = 0.002) and with an elevated global neurological symptom index of Konzo (OR: 1.33; CI 95%: 1.1-1.63; p = 0.019); furthermore it exacerbated cognitive impairment in children with Konzo (interaction neurological status-socioemotional disorders D = 6.297; p = 0.013). High cognitive performances were observed in children without Konzo but with socioemotional disorders. The average concentration (standard deviation ± SD) of urinary thiocyanate was higher (554.8 ± 371.6 µmol/l) among children with Konzo associated with socioemotional disorders. Conclusion: children living in Konzo-affected areas have socioemotional disorders. Their psychopathological status and the effect of Konzo on cognition require in-depth studies.

Original languageFrench
Article number118
JournalPan African Medical Journal
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018



  • Cassava toxicity
  • Cyanide
  • Konzo
  • Neurocognition
  • Socioemotional disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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