Outbreak of tourettes syndrome baffles doctors

Outbreak of tourettes syndrome baffles doctors

By Liz Lockhart

Fifteen girls from the same New York high school have all been struck by a mysterious Tourette’s-typeillness, according to a report on Yahoo Lifestyle.

The girls all attend Le Roy High School and have developed the disorder in the last few months.  This has left doctors baffled as to how they contracted it.

According to www.tourettes-action.org.uk, tourette’s syndrome (TS) is an inherited neurological condition which affects one schoolchild in every hundred.  Currently there are in excess of 300,00 children and adults in the UK who have the condition. 

The key feature to TS is tics which are described as involuntary and uncontrollable sounds and movements.  In most cases TS is also linked to other behaviours.  The most common of these is obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder.  It is commonly believed that people with tourette’s swear uncontrollably, however, 90% do not.

Many of the pupils from Le Roy High School who have been affected by tourette’s-like symptoms are being treated by Dr. Jennifer McVige, a paediatric neurologist.  Dr. McVige said that she used the diagnosis of exclusion to establish their strange mannerisms using the process of elimination, according to Yahoo.

The same report says that after an in-depth investigation by the New York State Health Department, Kim Cox, Le Roy School District Superintendent, has said that they have ruled out environmental factors being the cause of the unusual outbreak.  These factors include carbon monoxide, infections and the use of illegal drugs.

Despite this statement an environmental activist is now involved.  Erin Brockovich who linked cancer cases with toxic drinking water in California in 2003, is now going to investigate the causes of the illness along with other environmentalists.  They will explore the possibility that there could be a connection between this outbreak and a toxic chemical spill that occurred close to the school in 1970.  The ground and water could have been contaminated.

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