LeRoy girls on the mend, cause of illness still unknown

According to USA Today, two of the 18 girls affected by the strange illness in Le Roy, N.Y. are healthy and three are improving.

The cause of the Tourette’s syndrome-like symptoms seen in the students at Le Roy Central High School is still unknown and the illness itself does not have a concrete label.

Dr. Jennifer McVige of Dent Neurologic Institute has worked with 15 of the girls and diagnosed them with conversion disorder, a psychological disorder brought on by stress or trauma. It can be contagious in the sense that one person will unconsciously mimic another’s symptoms.

Some parents went to Dr. Rosario Trifiletti, a child neurologist in New Jersey, for a second opinion. Trifiletti diagnosed eight of the nine girls with symptoms similar to pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders.

Although most believe that the disorder is psychological, environmental testing is still being conducted at and around the high school with a focus on two specific issues. Five natural gas wells surround the school, and over 40 years ago, a train derailed and spilled 60,000 to 70,000 gallons of toxins into the soil about three miles from the school.

Local Congressional leaders are supporting the actions of the Environmental Protection Agency to further investigate and clean up the toxic spill.