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October 1984

Outbreak of Itching and Rash Epidemic Hysteria in an Elementary School

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine, West Virginia University, [ill]arleston (Drs Robinson and Szewczyk); and the West Virginia State [ill]alth Department, Charleston (Ms Haddy and Mr Jones and Madison (Mr [ill]rvey).

Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(10):1959-1962. doi:10.1001/archinte.1984.04400010067012

• Fifty-seven of 159 rural elementary school students had an [ill]xplosive spread of pruritus and rash—a rarely described [ill]anifestation of epidemic hysteria. in a sample of 13 children 23%), each child examined had irregular, macular, erythema[ill]us lesions that were excoriated and actively changed during examination. Rash occurred only at sites readily accessible to stands. The symptoms disappeared promptly when the chil[ill]ren left school and recurred each morning when they re[ill]rned. There were no secondary family cases in sample children. School-wide attack rates were higher in girls and [ill]unger children. The outbreak resolved after two to three ieks, with identification of Its nature and resumption of [ill]ormal activities. Academic stresses were circumstantially [ill]ked to the outbreak.

(Arch Intern Med 1984;144:1959-1962)