Girls keep fainting at Ladysmith school — even at prayer meeting

2009-03-16 00:00

FIVE more girls fainted at Windsor Secondary in Ladysmith yesterday, following more fainting spells during a prayer session on Sunday over Thursday’s mass hysteria.

The school reopened after it was closed when 120 girls were treated for dizziness, difficulty in breathing, fits and frothing at the mouth on Thursday.

The outbreak began on Tuesday when five pupils fainted and were taken to hospital. Four more showed similar symptoms on Wednesday.

Department spokesman Ntokozo Maphisa said the outbreak seemed to affect only girls at the co-ed school.

He dismissed suggestions that pupils were orchestrating the situation to avoid exams.

“People on the ground reported that under no circumstances could those learners be faking this to avoid exams.”

He said a meeting on Friday drew an overwhelming response from parents and members of the community.

“Health officials reported that they did not find anything wrong medically. After the meeting, two resolutions were reached: that parents would commit to prayer on Sunday and the department would offer counselling for learners,” said Maphisa.

However, even at the prayer meeting a few cases of hysteria were reported, affecting children who don’t even attend the school.

Health Department spokesman Leon Mbangwa told The Witness last week that the pupils were not physically ill and he believed that the phenomenon was a psychological reaction or an imbalance of hormones.

He could not be reached for further comment yesterday or for the results of the blood samples taken from the stricken pupils last week.

A doctor who treated some of the pupils said she could not find a medical reason for the incident.

sphumem@witness.co.za

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