Diseases:As Strange As It Gets

In a world like ours, diseases are sometimes disregarded by people. Colds? Fever? Cough? Normal stuff. But this disease is just difficult to ignore. Why?

Dancing Plague

Do you guys enjoy dancing? How much? So much that you can’t stop? Then you may be a candidate for the Dancing Plague.

The first recorded occurence of this disease happened in July 1518 when a woman, Frau Troffea, began to dance fervently in a street in Strasbourg. It’s located in France. She danced for about 4-6 days. Within a week, 34 others had joined, and within a month, there were around 400 dancers. Seems like a very contagious disease.

You think dancing makes you feel so alive? Think again. After nonstop dancing, most of the dancers died of either heart attack, stroke, or exhaustion.

So… Why didn’t someone stop them? Don’t ask me. But hey, they tried. I guess.  The plague worsened as time went by. To stop this plague, some CONCERNED nobles sought the advice of local physicians. Seems like the most sane thing to do. Right? Right! This will put an end to this. Wait… No. Turns out, the physicians, using their utmost wit and skills, diagnosed the cause as astrological and supernatural instead announcing that the plague was a “natural disease” caused by “hot blood”. Hey, it’s 1518 for crying out loud.

The cure? Or should I say, their cure? They opened two guildhalls and a grain market, and even constructed a wooden stage. Why? The EXPERTS thought that if they danced continously, they would eventually get tired and recover back to normality. That’s not all! They even hired musicians to keep them going.

Probable causes?

Here are few probable causes of the disease:

1. Mass psychogenic illness-also known as Mass Hysteria. It is the sociopsychological phenomenon of the manifestation of the same or similar hysterical symptoms by more than one person. A very weird way to get a disease, if you ask me. Mass hysteria typically begins when an individual becomes ill or hysterical during a period of stress. After this initial individual shows symptoms, others begin to manifest similar symptoms, typically nausea, muscle weakness, fits or headache.

2. Ergotism-is the effect of long-term ergot poisoning, traditionally due to the ingestion of the alkaloids produced by the Claviceos purpurea fungus which infects rye and other cereals, and more recently by the action of a number of ergoline-based drugs.(???) Simply put, it results from consuming ergot-laced bread.

Dance? Anyone?


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