A mystery illness is plaguing girls in this town in northern Colombia, and locals say a vaccine against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, or HPV, is to blame.
First their hands and feet feel cold. Then they go pale and cannot move. Some convulse and fall to the floor.
In El Carmen de Bolivar, near the port of Cartagena, dozens of teenagers have experienced similar symptoms. Some have even lost consciousness.
“They vaccinated me in May and I started fainting in August. My legs became heavy and I couldn’t feel my hands anymore. When I woke up, I was in the hospital,” recalled 15-year-old Eva Mercado.