The Curious Case of Mexico’s Fainting Students

Mexican authorities are still struggling to find answers to the seemingly unexplained fainting of hundreds of middle school students all over the country in the fall of last year.

On September 23, 2022, 12 students (11 girls and 1 boy) at the Federal 1 public secondary school in Tapachula, Mexico spontaneously collapsed in their classrooms, in the bathrooms, and in the school courtyard. Another 22 middle school students reported symptoms like severe headaches and vomiting. Interestingly, some of the affected students reported smelling something smoky in the air, like the scent of burning leaves, which led investigators to believe that drugs like marijuana had probably been to blame, but tests came back negative. Other students reported seeing a mustard-color powder in the bathroom on that day, but toxicology analysis again revealed nothing of interest. Eventually, doctors concluded that the kids had suffered panic attacks, but in the following days, similar incidents started being reported at other schools across Mexico…

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