Teenagers weigh in on mystery illness in LeRoy, N.Y.

The story that has been streaming out of LeRoy, N.Y., over the past couple of months has caught the attention of the entire nation: More than a dozen female students suddenly developed Tourette Syndrome-like symptoms, and no one has been able to fully explain it.

Many explanations have been offered – from mass hysteria created by news reports and social media, to “Conversion Disorder” to the possible lingering effects of an oil spill in the area more than 40 years ago – but as each day comes to a close, there are more questions than answers.

Teenagers from all parts of the country have expressed their opinion – anywhere from indifference to outrage – and those inside the tightly knit Tourette community are no different. Teens who frequent the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders’ (NJCTS) Teens4TS blog have been asked to weigh in with their thoughts on this case, and they have responded. Here is what a few of them have said:

“It’s important to realize that this cannot be Tourette Syndrome, when considering the facts of the girls’ cases. They are all older than 17, and as we all know, Tourette’s normally becomes first apparent in children ages 7-10. The fact that nearly all of the students with the symptoms are girls also helps to refute the possibility that this is TS. Boys are three times more likely to develop TS symptoms than girls, and since all but one of these students is a girl, I find in highly unlikely that this is TS.” – Harry K.

“I am actually not sure about all this. A chemical reaction causing Tourette’s? It sounds unlikely to happen. This seems more fake than real. It will probably hurt TS advocacy more than help it.” – Rowena M.

“No … you’re born with this kind of stuff! I don’t know if this ‘mass mystery illness’ is true, because tic disorders are neurological and cannot be ‘caught.’ ” – Emma O.


Read more from these and other teens, plus participate in the discussion, at Teens4TS.