Cluster of Students Diagnosed with 'Tourette-Like Illness' *Update*
Twelve girls in Leroy, NY have developed a mysterious disorder that causes them to display symptoms similar to Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder defined by involuntary motor and vocal tics.
A statement was issued by School District Superintendent Kim Cox.
“We have had some questions about a group of students in our District that have developed what appears to be Tourette-like symptoms. We are taking this issue seriously and we are working closely with students, their parents and medical professionals to determine the facts of these symptoms and to determine their cause. We ask the community to respect their privacy and the privacy of their families as we progress though our investigation. The safety and well-being of all students and staff in the District is of utmost importance. Parents with questions should call their school principals.
Kim M. Cox
Superintendent of Schools”
All of those diagnosed are high school girls, and the source of their condition is not being released, although it appears that a cause has been found.
“I can assure you these children have all been seen by professionals that have come up with answers and they are all being treated and they’re actually doing pretty well,” said Dr. Greg Young, with the NYS Department of Health.
Officials studying this bizarre case have stated that they have no reason to presume that the affected girls are faking, and that their symptoms are “significant” enough to warrant a thorough investigation. Thus far, tests have revealed that none of the girls were abusing drugs, and they have ruled out all environmental factors, infections and the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.
So serious is this phenomena that the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta have been on the case, and so has Columbia University, the Genesee County Health Department and the New York State Health Department.
A meeting was held recently to discuss the strange case with parents and residents of the area. The decision not to release the diagnosis has caused strife between health department officials and area citizens. Their concerns are largely that if they don’t know the cause, how can they avoid it in themselves and their children.
In my opinion, the most disturbing part is that even the parents of the afflicted aren’t being clued in as to the cause of their daughters’ strange behavior. It was only hinted that the issues could be related to OCD/ADHD drugs, antihistamines, head trauma, or genetics.
The father of one young girl stated that he’s very frustrated with the lack of answers concerning his own daughter, who is currently seeing a neurologist. His daughter has missed every day of school so far this month. He says, “She now has to be tutored, and I worry about her future. She’s only 17. She can’t even drive now. ” He goes on to say, “We feel frustrated and helpless, because you don’t know what you can do. And you’re just not getting any answers.”
UPDATE: neurologist Dr. Laszlo Mechtlerhas has now advanced a diagnosis of the mystery illness, stating that it is a rare case of mass hysteria. Mass hysteria — now referred to as conversion disorder — was first identified in 1895 when Freud published a collection of case studies on women with unsual symptoms with no apparent cause.
More on the story here: http://www.wgrz.com/news/article/150087/37/Update-on-Tourettes-Like-Illness-in-Leroy