Outbreak of Psychogenic Illness Among Elementary School Girls in Taitung County

Taitung County Health Bureau

1985 Vol.1 NO.8

Correspondence Author:


On June I, 1985. the Mobile Surveillance Team for the Eastern Region notified the Bureau of Disease Control of an outbreak of an unusual illness among students attending Chu Hu Elementary School (enrollment 242) in the town of Chang Ping in Taitung Counts. The outbreak began on Thursday morning May 30. when one female fifth-grade student became dizzy and fainted in class. Soon, several other female students in the same classroom developed dizziness, headache, and nausea, By mid-morning, students in two other classrooms de% eloped similar symptoms, The attacks of illness generally Lasted from a few minutes to about one hour All affected students sere seen b a local physician who did not report an, unusual physical or laboratory findings. On the following day, My 31, 14 new casts occurred involving female students from the three previously affected classrooms plus two additional classrooms. The school was closed on Friday afternoon May 31. That evening, 13 previously affected students had a recurrent attack of illness while attending a church service. School was re-opened on Saturday, June I. and another two previously affected students had a recurrent attack of illness. Recurrent attacks of illness continued to occur the rest of June, however. only one new case occurred since June 6. Since June 29.there have been no new or rcuncn1 cases (Figure 1). Attack rates for affected classrooms ranged from seven to 33 percent. Three Out of nine classrooms had no cases and the clustering of illness in classrooms was highly significant (p<0,001; Chi square goodness-of-fit).