The West Bank Epidemic Began - March 21, 1983


A production of iheartradio. Hey y'all it's Eve's again and welcome to another episode of This Day in History Class. I am still at home recording from my closet so if I sound any different than that is why. But the history doesn't end so let's get on with the show. Today is March twenty. First Twenty twenty. The day was March. Twenty first nineteen eighty three the first wave of cases the West Bank. Fainting epidemic began in the town of Arba epidemic lasted until early April in the end researchers determined that it was likely triggered by psychological factors on the morning of March twenty first a seventeen year old student at a girls school in Florida noted feeling throat irritation and difficulty breathing. She also felt dizziness and abdominal pain over the next couple of hours. More students in other classes and a teacher began experiencing similar symptoms. Some of the students reported smelling rotten eggs. When public health officials arrived at the school? They figured that toxic gas was the culprit but none was found and doctors could not determine the cause of their symptoms. The school was closed but more people fell ill over the next few days by March twenty six. The illness had spread to the town of Janine in northern West Bank and surrounding villages though most of the cases occurred among female students some also occurred among Israeli Defence Force soldiers. Dozens of people were admitted to the hospital with residents reporting seeing a car. That was emitting a thick cloud of smoke. A third wave of the epidemic occurred on April third mostly around the city of Hebron in the West Bank. This wave spread quickly with most students. Seeing symptoms within a couple of hours students and some soldiers were affected by headaches and blurred vision in addition to the abdominal pains and dizziness after these outbreaks schools were closed and no more people reported being affected by the epidemic. All in all there were more than nine hundred forty people who fell ill during the epidemic to figure out it's 'cause researchers took air samples from ascites analyzed them they also took soil and dust samples and analyze suspicious substances

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