This article discusses the Grisi Siknis disease that is affecting the Miskito people, many of which are lined along the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua and Honduras. The article states these people are found in other places however and that Miskito describes a culture more than a particular race. The article written is from a researcher whom has visited the area and conducted many interviews with those of the Miskito culture. It finally tries to draw a conclusion as to why the disease may have taken those affected and what things can be done to help those inflicted.
The dimensions of this illness are hard to grasp because those who experience it all seem to reach slightly different with a few overall things that appear common. The disease the strikes the people seems to mainly affect women in their mid to late teens but can also inflict men of the same age. The people all seem to relate the start as a sexual encounter with the devil. They lose consciousness and report several other individual symptoms which often times follows up with a period of violent behavior. This disease also appears to be highly contagious and spread around a community lasting for roughly a year. From a cultural standpoint those affected are seen to have a spiritual imbalance and so they were taken upon by the devil. These people are viewed as sick in the way we would view a typical illness but are cured with spiritual practices as well as herbal medicine.
Western medicine has not yet been able to explain this illness nor has it found a cure for those affected. People in cultures such as America view this as a mental disorder brought on by stress or fatigue and is similar to other psychiatric episodes that can occur. Miskito people believe in Herbal medicines and use many types of plants to cure people for various types of sickness. It appears that these herbal practices are often times able to cure those affected but it is not always possible. This herbal practice however, is the only thing to have shown some positive results in treating those afflicted with the illness.
Dennis, Philip A. “Grisi siknis in Miskito culture.” In The Culture-Bound Syndromes, pp. 289-306. Springer Netherlands, 1985.