At LeRoy Junior-Senior High School in upstate New York, 12 female students suddenly fell ill with symptoms of Tourette's Syndrome, such as body tics and uncontrollable verbal outbursts. School officials have determined that environmental factors in the school building are not to blame, and the cause of the outbreak remains contested.
As reported by TODAY news, local 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.
Dr. Mechtler told TODAY, "It's happened before, all around the world, in different parts of the world. It's a rare phenomena. Physicians are intrigued by it."
The symptoms of conversion disorder -- a condition which causes its sufferers to express psychological distress through physical movement of the body -- can last for weeks, but can be cured through psychiatric or psychological treatment.