Since Sept. 2011, 12 girls from Leroy Central School District in New York have been exhibiting mysterious symptoms like that of Tourette's, which came upon them suddenly and have required many of them to be taken out of school and tutored at home.
Doctors are coming forward with some answers, but concerned parents say that its not enough. Officials from the New York State Health Department, the State Office of Mental Health and the school held a public meeting with parents on Wednesday night where they said each of the girls were being treated for their symptoms and stated they had reached a diagnosis. The hard part for parents to swallow was that doctors said they were unable to reveal the diagnosis due to HIPAA compliance, a federal law that protects a patient's medical privacy.
Watch the local ABC WGRZ news report:
According to WGRZ, officials have ruled out environmental factors, infections, the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning, illegal drugs and vaccines like Gardasil. Dr. Greg Young, with the NYS Department of Health is reported as saying that tics can be caused by genetics, head trauma, ADHD and OCD medications and antihistamines. Doctors also don't believe that the girls are making it up.
Although Young said at the conference that "these children have all been seen by professionals that have come up with answers and they are all being treated and they're actually doing pretty well," parents of two of the girls have come forward saying this is not the case. They say they have not been given answers.
WHEC has more from Jim Dupont and Beth Miller who say their daughters have been affected by the strange illness and they're still in the dark:
"Well in my opinion we've only just begun. If you haven't found anything then we have to turn some more stones and we need to have another investigation that is not government related," Jim Dupont said.
"My frustration is until September 10th of 2011 I had a healthy girl, a girl that was in junior high who loved school had a lot of friends, was very happy high honor roll and then all of a sudden she wakes up from a nap and she's twitching out of control," Beth Miller said.
One doctor told Miller that her daughter could have something called conversion disorder. It's a neurological problem brought on by stress, just like the tics.
"But it's very rare and why isn't it happening in other schools? Why is it just focused on LeRoy?" Miller asked.
"Even if that's what it was, it does not tell us the cause of it," Dupont said. "You could call it anything you want, but what caused it?"
WHEC reports that the symptoms of conversion disorder include symptoms include blindness, inability to speak, numbness and paralysis, which doesn't explain in totality what the New York students are exhibiting.
WHEC also reports that one of the girls who was experiencing the illness contacted the station and said she has been out of school for three months and is still experiencing symptoms, which her doctor told her were "something neurological that they can't figure it out yet."
Fox and Friends hosted psychiatrist Keith Ablow and neurologist Keith Siller to discuss the illness. Siller mentions conversion disorder as a possibility, which he says could mean it's all in the girls heads, but Ablow points out that if seizures were involved that would imply evidence has been found EEG, which would suggest other causes. Ablow also brings up that the question of why parents who may have knowledge of the diagnosis of their girls (it is assumed that if some girls have been diagnosed, their parents would be told of the disorder as they are still minors) aren't coming forward.
Here's the clip from Fox and Friends: