More than a dozen students at Essex Agricultural and Technical High School in Danvers, Massachusettes have been experiencing unexplained hiccups or vocal tics. According to Fox News, while no physicians have diagnosed or confirmed any of the students, it remains unclear whether the symptoms are contagious or environmentally induced.
The Massachusettes Department of Health is working with local health officials to investigate and assist the community. Given that no cases have been confirmed of anything specific, health officials have commented little.
The symptoms appear to have emerged between November and December of 2012, at which time two or three parents called Peter Mirandi, the health director for Danvers, alerting him to the situation.
A similar situation occurred at Le Roy High School, where by January of 2012 up to 16 students suddenly suffered from tics comparable to Tourette Syndrome. Two additional cases were reported in September 2012. An investigation by the New York State Department of Health indicated that there were no environmental causes for the outbreak. One neurologist from Buffalo spoke out, assuming that the girls were suffering from mass hysteria brought on by stress, or what he called conversion disorder. This assumption was supported by many officials, and appears to be the last theory put forth regarding the unexplained symptoms. The school district even put a message on the district website at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year asking for limited media attention due to the potential for it being "a catalyst for new symptoms to develop."
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