Mystery Illness Leaves Upstate N.Y. Teens With Twitches, Spasms And No Answers

Doctors Unsure Why The Lives Of Young People Have Changed For The Worse

LE ROY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — More than a dozen teens at a high school in upstate New York are suffering from a mystery illness that is leaving them susceptible to twitches and spasms.

Thera Sanchez started showing symptoms when she woke up from a nap.

“It’s very heartbreaking to me to be honest, knowing that right now I can’t do what I love,” she said.

Chelsey Dumars was stricken suddenly while in school.

“I couldn’t stop stuttering,” she said. “And then throughout the day, I got worse, and I started twitching and everything.”

The debilitating condition has completely changed the lives of many young people in the Genesee County town, reports CBS 2’s Maurice Dubois. Once vital, active teens have been left exhausted and in pain.

“I hate when it happens because my body is sore. Sometimes it gets me to the point where I want to cry from twitching so much,” Dumars said.

What’s worse for these teens is some of their diagnoses haven’t been clear.

“Last time I went to the neurologist, they said they’re not sure and they’ll keep looking into it, but besides that they haven’t told anyone anything,” Lydia Parker said.

Twelve of the cases have been confirmed as conversion disorder. Three new cases are suspected.

“Traditionally it’s some kind of stress or multiple stressors that provoke a physical reaction within the body. This is unconscious. It is not done purposefully,” Dr. Jennifer McVige said.

However, those who are suffering with the condition said it goes well beyond that.

“I don’t think this is in my head. I don’t think I can wake up from a nap and this can happen,” Sanchez said.

And their parents fear they may be running out of time.

“She does not have time for ‘I feel’ or guesswork or anything like that. She’s deteriorating,” said Melisa Phillips, Sanchez’ mother.

Health officials have ruled out several possible causes, including drugs, head trauma and environmental factors, but activist Erin Brockovich thinks the state was too quick to rule out environmental problems.

Some questions surround natural gas wells near the Le Roy Jr./Sr. High School, and possible toxic remnants from a 1970 train derailment.

“Whether it’s environmental or whatever’s going on, we have to find the answer,” said Dave Watson, Dumars’ father.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is also researching the disorder.

Please leave a comment below…

  • mbrad2002

    at the root of this hoax is financial compensation. Once these families are compensated these symptoms will miraculously vanish!!

  • Brinker

    Sounds quite similar to the symptoms experienced with low level exposure to nerve agents. Given that fake psychedelics derived from pesticides are prevalent on the street I’d suggest they start the investigation there. Natural gas wells? That’s just stupidity.

  • John C

    Since it’s not in the community but just in the high school, there must be something the affected students have been exposed to in common – some type of chemical toxin. What do all the affected students have in common besides the same high school?


    Here’s my guess and I think it makes sense. Its a small (very small) group of kids localized to one community. All of the teens these days it seams are smoking the “legal” drugs like K2, Spice, Bloody Mary, etc. Some of these herbs have been banned due to the serious effects on the brain. These kids can easily purchase this poison at any local headshop. Anyone in the area has probably heard the “HooKa! We’ll smoke you up!” commercials on the radio.
    These girls were probably partying and smoked a bad batch of spice.
    Has anyone tested them for these types of drugs? Because it’s legal, the kids think that it is harmless yet some people have dies from this garbage.
    At least if I’m right, there will only be more laws trying to keep this crap off the streets.

  • Concerned


    I know a man who got similar symptoms from CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING from a defective furnace. He is severely debilitated, and it took forever to get a correct diagnosis. He made a video on youtube you can watch:

  • Anon150

    “Twelve of the cases have been confirmed as conversion disorder. ”

    A Conversion Disorder is “a neurosis marked by the appearance of physical symptoms such as partial loss of muscle function without physical cause but in the presence of psychological conflict. Symptoms include numbness, blindness, paralysis, or fits without a neurological cause. It is thought that these problems arise in response to difficulties in the patient’s life, and conversion is considered a psychiatric disorder.”

    Teens, getting all this attention and sympathy… Why is this even a surprise?

  • MZ

    This is not an illness, it is a poisoning. Shut the place down til you find the source!

  • rufus levin


  • Rick Morrow

    This is not a medical problem or a psychological problem, but a spiritual problem. These teenagers need deliverance, or they will have these problems for a long time. Medicine dose not make a spirit go away.

  • Peter

    I suppose the hospital would have asked if they had used Spice or K2? With Demi Moore in the news, this is a fair question.

  • Zed

    MAD COW. It’s obvious. Look it up.

  • Rick Thomas

    Im calling bs every one of these girls just want attention I say every one would stop in a NY second if told them to knock it off and i’ll give a free new I phone or a date with Justin bieber

  • Lori

    This article unfairly portrays the spasms and twitching, but doesn’t mention is that these girls are suffering from Tourette’s. When this story first broke earlier this month, I saw on television a bunch of these girls and their families at some kind of community meeting or perhaps it was with some health officials and you could hear intermittent, uncontrollable bursts of sounds or words as those who suffer from Tourettes do. This is so tragic, and I find it very, very hard to believe that all of them are so afflicated at the same time and that it’s just a coincidence or all in their heads.

  • Psanty MD

    Actually, what might be relevant is to find out if there was an outbreak of strep throat in the month prior to these neurological symptoms and to check the streptococcus titers of the children involved. PANDAS (Pediatric autoimmune disorder associated w/ Strep) is not at all uncommon and is on the rise since doctors are not using antibiotics as much as they used to when kids have a sore throat.

  • Johanna

    Did all these girls get the gardisil vaccine? That’s a horrible vaccine!!!

    I also think they should see a LLMD. Lyme Literate MD. You can go to for help in finding a doctor. These doctors will take you seriously and aren’t going to tell you your crazy. I went through 8 doctors telling me I was crazy for 3yrs until I found a LLMD.

  • JustAGuess

    The first thing that poppod into my mind was Lime disease. Symptoms sound similar, but I’m no doctor.

  • Val

    These teens — all from the same area — and in the same age group — would most likely have this in common. Utilization of vaccination — probably gardasil. They have most likely been injured and their parents have probably already been asked to be quiet during the “Investigation”. My friend Erin is wrong that old areas of possible environmental contamination are the culprit — more than just the teens would be affected if that was the case. The most likely thing they have in common would be having the gardasil shot. My hope is that the parents start to speak up so that the common thread is identified. These teens have probably been given a really bad dose of preventative medicine.

  • The Evil Bender

    Its obvious this is the work of witches. I suggest taking each of the girls from the school , tie them up and throw them in the river. The ones that float are witches. The ones that sink are innocent.

    And chem-trails are not caused by airplanes, they are created by witches brooms. Studies and scientists and stuff have proved it.

    • rufus levin


      Reverend Samuel Parris, Salem Massachusetts

  • david

    Wake the F up, America.

  • Kevin

    My opinion is that is could have something to do with the hydraulic fracturing now being done in the upstate new york.

  • Tom

    It most likely has to do with the shots that girls get for cervical cancer. I’d take a shot in the dark they all had the shots.

  • Ed Sodaro

    The patients have “la belle indifference,” along with other symptoms of classic conversion disorder.

    Its a remarkable illness that often brings out the absolute worst in the community in which the symptoms appear, as is evident in the news reports and the posts.

  • HM

    My guess is that it is a govt mandated vaccination of some sort – they don’t want it revealed since that would bring about expensive lawsuits agansit the big drug companies that are paying for these guys campaigns. Always follow the $$

  • Kelly

    If Erin Brockovich is involved, the school district and any companies in the area best hide their billfolds.

  • rich

    The parents need to group together in teams and brainstorm the commonalities between these kids… I would look into vaccines.. Did the school administer any in the recent weeks? Gardisl or any others? if so then you found you’re problem.

  • keestadoll

    Are these girls on an anti-depressants?

    • rich

      that’s possible too, some municipalities have announced programs where they put anti depressants in the local tap water.. google it you’ll see what I mean.

  • aj

    Vaccine + Stealth Tick-borne Infections + WiFi

  • american-american

    A couple days after this story broke, officials said they had determined the cause but refused to reveal it. They claimed federal health privacy laws prevented them from disclosing the cause. The problem I have with that is that they also refused to tell parents and patients.

    • Eileen Pressler

      Someone should check to see if these teens have had the vacination for STDs that has been causing so many problems, even some deahs. Keep on top of this parents.

      • Lee

        I agree….that (STD [HPV] vaccination) or some other vaccination was my first thought, too.

        • Nathan

          i can’t believe two actually believe that..

  • Dr. Death


  • Mark

    All teens, and all female. I wonder if they had recently had the new HPV vaccine. My grand daughter had similar symptoms shortly after receiving the vaccine. They have seemed to resolve at this point, but it is worrisome.

  • magic47

    Same thing happened in Massachusetts last month. Check it out

  • Daniel

    Some questions surround natural gas wells near the Le Roy Jr./Sr. High School, and possible toxic remnants from a 1970 train derailment


  • joe

    Its the vaccines, government is killing us everyday. Chem trails, vaccines, fluoride water along with the food.

  • John Blasnowski

    All related nervous system disorders.
    Occupied same building
    Building has ventilation system
    Their condition is deteriorating
    Nerve agent of some kind / industrial / military grade.
    School should be closed and tested (does NY have a governor?)
    Not saying this is a conspiracy – very likely an accident/leak.

  • JIM

    I wonder how many of the girls had the Gardisil shots?

  • boberereou349083

    Ya know, I have my suspicions that the doctor was paid to “diagnose” them with hysteria by the entity that caused the problem (I’m guessing a polluter). Though I have no inside knowledge of this case. Really, I’d like to know how the doctor came to rule out all known physical causes to conclude that this is all in their heads. I hope they saw multiple specialists before they were labeled as hysterical. One family practitioner does not know everything and should be aware of that.

  • tore4583

    I can’t say I’m sold on the hysteria diagnosis.

  • stoptouchingthatmabel

    I’m no doctor but my educated guess is that these young adults must have listened to Obama’s state of the union address. Such symptoms would appear after being subjected to such a verbal onslaught of prevarications and inanities.

  • JJ

    Did these girls have their Guardasil shots recently?

  • L Ledbetter M.D. PhD

    I would suspect those teenagers could be dehydrated, and, possibly malnourished from eating too much ‘junk’ food. Both of those factors can produce neurological symptoms such as muscle twitching, from the electrolyte balance being upset. Certain nutrients such as vitamin D tend to decline during the winter as well. Other factors include stress or anxiety symptoms and possible reactions to various over the counter medications, or prescription meds.
    Keep in mind that there is rarely a single factor that causes a given condition, especially one of this type, and is probably being caused by a range of factors, as stated above, or possibly others.

    • John Blasnowski

      12 teens all at once with the same neurological disorders? And the best an alleged M.D. (we can be anyone we want here) can say is junk food? LOL!
      Hey, doc – What is the drug of the week you’re prescribing? Is the pharmaceutical pimp, err, representative cute? And what are the drugs you’ll prescribe to counter the side effects for the drugs you prescribed?
      John P.D.Q. garbageman

  • frankly

    It could just be an OTC drug. Flu, cold, and cough medicines, allergy and sleeping pills could all cause this. These medicines are legal because the government sees the social cohesion that they create. Yes, my premise is here is that minds are interconnected. The drug in Benedryl and sleeping pills is close to mandrake which is talked about in the Bible. Mandrake was highly valued. It is one of the oldest drugs used by civilization, maybe even a catalyst for it:
    Genesis 30:14-17:
    14And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes.
    15And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son’s mandrakes.
    16And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.
    17And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.”
    Possibly the elite of the world take these drugs (more likely they take the latest and greatest illegal/unknown ones which are much better at dominating these legal drugs) and perform rituals of some sort to bring about the outcomes they want in the world since it would effect the thoughts of the population (just like prayer). Maybe YOU don’t touch drugs of any kind but you are effected nonetheless. If you are a smart person I suggest taking psycho-actives to get vaccinated so to speak, if not, well you are out of luck. Just follow the herd, keep your head down, and stay out of the way!

  • Susanna

    I have a scientist friend who looked at the story. She said between their symptoms and the fact that the Doctors cite HIPPA laws for why they can’t tell what it is, its probably birth control pills.

  • Bill

    We have something similar going around in Wisconsin. Only some people are affected but along with spasms and twitches they also have drooling, frothing at the mouth, spitting while talking, and fits of rage.

    All you have to do is say “I support Scott Walker” and people start flopping around like it was a Pentecostal church service.

    But it isn’t a mystery illness. It is derangement and most public sector workers seem affected by it. Their union doesn’t help… only makes their symptoms worse.

  • old.frt

    Teens routinely are subject to “mass hysteria’s.”

    Nothing to see here folks, move along now.

  • Paul Craven

    I am deadly serious about his but see if there is any correlationj between thesen syptoms and cipro or levaquin. Any antibiotic in this family could be a cause

  • frankly

    Certainly the Nyquil. Or it could be Benedryl or some sort of sleeping pill. All of those medicines have odd effects. Probably leads to some sort of mind control. If you actually look at what is in Benedryl it has properties close to mandrake which is even mentioned in the Bible. It is a drug that has been used probably before any other drug to keep social cohesion. The DXM in cough medicines is new though and if someone else’s mind waves are getting in the way it could cause such convulsions.

  • UyeahU

    I know little of medicine, but I know that a friend of our family had their son come down with Type 1 diabetes after he contracted a virus. He was in his early teens and the virus somehow caused his body to attack his pancreas. He has to live on insulin now for the rest of his life, assuming a cure is not found.

    I wonder if this is also some type of new or unknown virus that is causing neurological damage in these children. It could be contagious in a school setting and show up as these stuttering and twitching symptoms.

    If you eliminate drug used, poison, environmental factors, it would seem a pathogen is likely.

  • Trevor


  • Gary Falls

    Didn’t this very thing happen once before in Salem in the year 1692?

  • bob

    Ah yes the old “conversion disorder.” WHen I was practicing psychiatry in a California prison they wanted me to call a crippled in-mate a “conversion disorder.” Problem was, when I looked at his Xray I saw his spine was fractured in 3 places. Now, since then, doctors in California prisons need “special permission” to look at XRays, and I am blacklisted completely out of work in the usa anymore.

    Conversion disorders usually result from an ideosyncratic experience – a woman who has heard her spouse having sex in the next room loses her hearing, etc. What common stressor have these patients had? And what psychological trauma is reduced by the conversion? Not likely, doc.

    Conversion disorders have real medical causes over 80% of the time. The odds of this “mystery illness” being a mass- conversion disorder is highly improbable medically and statistically.

    • davec

      No wonder you cant find work, look at all the Armchair Experts here…

      too much competition.

      Since you have psych experience, check out the crackpot Vic Livingston.

      Particularly, what meds should he be on, or which ones have levels that are off?

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