Stress caused children to fall ill in Noord-Holland primary school's gym class

There is nothing wrong with a gym class in Lutjebroek where pupils from the same primary school class twice fell ill, public health institute GGD concluded after investigation. The GGD believes it was stress and heat that made the children sick, NOS reports.

The gym class of primary school De Baskuul in the Noord-Holland village made national news when 18 children suddenly became nauseous and ill early this month. Emergency services were called in. According to the GGD, it seems that the children were not feeling well due to an endurance test being held on a day when the heater was turned on at full blast in the gym and dressing room. This likely caused the kids to experience symptoms such as nausea, headache and trouble breathing.

A week later, children from the same class again fell ill when they entered the gym. The room was then closed and measurements were taken, but nothing suspicious was found. The local safety office then said that the symptoms may have been caused by mass hysteria, also because no pupils from other classes experienced any problems in the gym. 

The GGD now also concluded that the problem is not with the gym class. "The children may have entered the gym again with such stress that they again became ill", a spokesperson said to NH Nieuws. "They must have had strong memories from the week before and thought 'we're going to the place again'." The GGD called this an extraordinary case. "We don't experience this often."

The school and the parents were briefed about the results of the investigation. The gym class is now open again. On Tuesday the children in the class that became ill started exercising again. Their parents went with them, to check whether they also get sick and to reassure their children. "When the children see that mommy and daddy don't get sick and play sport together, then the fear that they can get sick again disappears", the GGD spokesperson said to NH Nieuws.