Tue, Nov 27, 2007 - Page 14 News List

Hysteria rocks Virginia high school 歇斯底里症震撼維州高校

The Guardian

A scene of a typical American classroom. Taken from the new sitcom Aliens in America, which premiered last month.PHOTO: AFP
美國典型較市場景,取自上個月上映的新情境喜劇 ﹙Aliens in America﹚。 照片:美聯社

On Sep. 26, a student at William Byrd High School in Virginia, a US state on the Atlantic coast, reported suffering twitching, dizziness and headaches. Days afterwards, another student announced the same symptoms. Later in the month, more students from the school in Roanoke County were seen twitching . "They wave. It's convulsing . They can't stop it," student Layne Gulli told reporters. "You don't know how to avoid it. You don't know if you're next."

Fewer than 10 students and one member of staff were affected by the symptoms, but worried parents urged officials to close the school. Earlier this month, about 300 of the school's 1,200 students were absent. The outbreak mystified the community. "There's rumors it was carbon dioxide from the photography room," said student Joe Bradshaw. "We heard it was lead paint. Nobody knows."

Last week Virginia's Department of Health ruled out any environmental factors. "We believe the school is safe," said Dr. Stephanie Harper. Instead, the department argued: "Stress in the group setting may have played a role in causing the symptoms experienced." It called the outbreak " sociogenic in nature."

Dr. Jim Bolton, consultant psychiatrist at St Helier hospital in Surrey, southern England, said: "There's a strong possibility that it's a case of mass hysteria . It tends to occur in close communities, particularly schools, sometimes sports teams and convents. It occurs across all kinds of cultures, and is very common, particularly at times of stress. I remember when I was at school there would be fainting epidemics . Girls for weeks would be fainting left, right and center."

At William Byrd High School they're still baffled. Dr. Lorraine Lange, Roanoke County schools superintendent, said: "I don't think students here are differently stressed from any other high school students."

OUT LOUD 對話練習

Dean : What are you reading, Phil?

Phil : A book about a girl named Anna O. She was a patient of Josef Breuer and was diagnosed with hysteria. Her case had a huge influence on Sigmund Freud.

Dean : My great-grandmother was diagnosed with hysteria.

Phil : It's a tough disease to have. A lot of people don't believe you're really sick.

Dean : Yeah, a lot of people just assumed my great-grandmother was looney, and I don't think she ever got proper treatment.

狄恩 :你在讀什麼啊,菲爾?

菲爾 :一本關於一個叫做安娜.歐的女孩的書,她是喬瑟夫.布羅伊爾的病人,被診斷出罹患了歇斯底里症,她的病例對佛洛依德有很深的影響。

狄恩 :我的曾祖母就被診斷得了歇斯底里症。

菲爾 :那真是不幸,很多人都不相信這真的是一種疾病。

狄恩 :對啊,很多人只把我曾祖母當作瘋子,而且我覺得她一直沒有得到妥善的治療。

looney 發瘋的

Looney means either crazy or silly. The word can describe people or situations. For example, "Luke thinks Mary is dangerous, but I think she's just a bit looney. "

「looney」可以解釋成瘋了或是傻裡傻氣,可以用來描述人或情況,例如:「路克認為瑪莉很危險,但我覺得她只是有一點瘋瘋的」。


And why that school should be susceptible to mass hysteria is, for the moment, unclear.(THE GUARDIAN)

美國維吉尼亞州(位於大西洋沿岸)的威廉柏德高中於九月二十六日通報,有一名學生出現抽搐、頭暈、頭痛等不適症狀。數日後,另外一名學生也出現了同樣的症狀。至九月底,位於羅諾克郡的這所學校有更多學生痙攣發作。「他們揮動四肢、全身抽搐、停不下來,」一位學生賴恩.古里受訪時表示:「我們不知道要怎麼避免,也不知道自己是否會成為下一個發作的人。」

雖然僅有不到十位學生和一名學校職員出現症狀,但憂心的父母仍要求官方應宣布停課。本月初,全校一千兩百名學生中有約三百人請假缺席,爆發這種症狀讓當地人心惶惶。「有謠言傳說,是暗房的碳酸引起的,」一位學生喬依.布萊德蕭說:「我還聽說跟含鉛漆有關,我們毫無頭緒。」

上週,維州衛生局排除了所有的環境因素,「我們認為學校安全無虞,」史帝芬妮.哈波醫師表示。相反地,衛生局還表示:「這些症狀發生的原因可能來自群體壓力。」該局認為這次事件「本質上是社會因素引起的」。

精神諮詢師吉姆.波頓醫師說:「這個案例極有可能是集體歇斯底里症,通常發生在封閉的社群,尤其是學校,有時候也會發生在球隊或修道院。在不同文化的社群都可能發生,而且相當常見,尤其是在有壓力的情況下。我記得我在唸書的時候,昏厥曾流行過一陣子,有好幾週周圍的女同學相繼暈倒。」波頓醫師任職位於英格蘭南部薩里郡的聖希萊爾醫院。

在威廉柏德高中,大家仍然相當不解。羅諾克郡的教育督導羅倫.蘭傑博士說:「我不認為這所學校的學生比其他學校的學生承受更多的壓力。」

至於這所學校為什麼會被認為有可能爆發集體歇斯底里症,目前仍不清楚。

(衛報/翻譯:袁星塵)

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