June 25, 2024

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Why did over 100 high school students paralyze in 4 days?

Why did over 100 high school students paralyze in 4 days?

Why did over 100 high school students paralyze in 4 days? Hospitals conduct checks, all results negative until…

4 days, and 108 students paralyzed one after another, yet hospitals claim “no issue”?

At the beginning of last month, a high school experienced an unusual event where nearly 30 students reported weakness in their knees and walked unsteadily on the same day.

The following day, more students with similar symptoms emerged, with some even requiring wheelchairs to move normally.

What is more concerning is that this “illness” seems to be contagious: the number of paralyzed students is increasing…

screenshot from youtube, reference 1

108 students paralyzed in 4 days, hospital tests show no abnormalities

On the third day, teachers took 53 paralyzed students to the hospital; by the evening of the fourth day, over 100 students had been admitted, all with nearly identical symptoms.

After the incident, the school authorities sealed off Erege Girls’ High School in Kenya. However, chaos still reigned within the school: students smashing vehicles in emotional outbursts, parents rushing to the scene, and the school resisting the free movement of people. Soon, news of a hundred students being paralyzed spread rapidly online.

The campus is sealed off, image source: Reference [1]

Four large hospitals in the area each admitted these students, conducting routine tests such as blood, urine, and feces examinations. However, after five rounds of testing, no evidence of infection was found. With no progress in the four hospitals, the samples were sent to the Kenya Medical Research Institute, but the results were still unsatisfactory.

On one side, students lying paralyzed in beds, on the other side, normal test results. Medical researchers and government officials engaged in endless debates. Subsequently, the Ministry of Health announced the diagnosis of the students: hysteria, a condition caused by psychological factors.

“Hysteria” has existed in the history of medicine for over a thousand years. Patients usually experience emotional abnormalities triggered by the same short-term cause, leading to further mental, sensory, or motor disorders. In a highly enclosed collective or environment, “hysteria” patients often consecutively fall ill, exhibit similar symptoms, and suggest to each other, creating a phenomenon of “contagion.”

However, in recent years, major diagnostic manuals and disease classifications have been removing this diagnosis and replacing it with others. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), it corresponds to “Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder”: weakness or paralysis, motor abnormalities, and specific sensations.

Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder symptoms description, image source: DSM-5

In the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), it corresponds to “Conversion Disorder,” aligning with “hysteria.” It primarily refers to emotional reactions caused by psychological factors, leading to various physical symptoms [3].

A “collective paralysis” triggered by an exam

While announcing the diagnosis of “hysteria,” the spokesperson also revealed the psychological trigger for this episode: the upcoming high school entrance exam. In other words, these over 100 students exhibited “paralysis” symptoms due to extreme anxiety and panic over the impending exam.

It is not uncommon for movement disorders to occur due to high academic pressure, and similar events have occurred in various countries before.

Global prevalence of Mass Psychogenic Illness (MPI) in adolescents from 1997 to 2011, image source: Literature [7]

“Besides excessive academic pressure, common triggers for Mass Psychogenic Illness include mass vaccination campaigns, suspicion of food poisoning, psychological suggestion, air pollution, and some individuals’ inherent susceptibility.”

Although the triggers vary, the treatment approaches for this condition converge.

Mutual suggestion is a significant characteristic of this illness, and efforts should be made to minimize such suggestions during subsequent treatment. During treatment, patients need to be separated as much as possible to avoid continued mutual influence and the transmission of negative and panic-inducing emotions.

Various methods can be employed for comprehensive treatment, aiming to eliminate triggers, combining psychological therapy, and, if necessary, incorporating psychiatric medications.

Currently, after counseling and symptomatic treatment, the symptoms of these paralyzed high school students in Kenya have alleviated, and they are gradually returning to school.

Why did over 100 high school students paralyze in 4 days?



(source:internet, reference only)

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