The mystery illness that hit 12 girls at LeRoy High School in upstate New York -- which was recently diagnosed by a local doctor as conversion disorder -- has now spread to more teens at the school. The New York State Health Department confirms to local NBC affiliate WGRZ that they have seen 15 cases of students exhibiting the same Tourettes-like symptoms, including one boy.
The 12 girls who were initially exhibiting strange Tourette's-like tics and uncontrollable verbal outbursts several months ago, as well as three more students, are thought to have a particular type of conversion disorder known as mass psychogenic illness, an ailment in which psychological stress is expressed physically. School officials told TODAY that environmental factors in the school building or surrounding areas are not to blame, and the cause of the outbreak remains uncertain.
To get a second opinion on their diagnosis, students may elect to travel to the National Institute of Health facilities in Bethesda, Maryland for further testing. The testing will be free of charge, and will involve a physical examination as well as possible clinical neurophysiological testing.
Conversion disorder is a main area of research at the NIH facility, and those who are eligible may participate in the ongoing research study there.