A funny epidemic that could end all wars... if only.

Three to five years before my birth, there was an epidemic that happened in Africa that compelled those who had it, to laugh. Certainly, with everyone laughing that much, there'd be no time for fighting. After all, isn't laughter the best medicine?laugh

61 years ago today, the infamous Tanganyika (Tanzanian) “laughter epidemic” broke out in the village of Kashasha, Tanzania. The first sign was at an all-girls school when uncontrollable giggles began to occur at such frequency that the teachers had a hard time continuing the lesson. Psychologists believe that it was an outbreak of mass psychogenic illness, of MPI and it went on in the area for months.

The epidemic spread to Nshamba, a village where several of the girls lived. In April and May, 217 mostly young villagers had laughing attacks. The Kashasha school reopened on May 21 and reclosed at the end of June. In total 14 schools and over 1,000 pupils were affected by fits of hysterical laughter and uncontrollable giggling.

Unfortunately, according to Christian Hempelmann, a doctoral student who was researching the phenomenon in 2003, "...the epidemic was not a happy one for those who suffered uncontrollable fits of laughter, and he claimed that people showed signs of anxiety, respiratory symptoms, fainting, crying, and rashes".

Some scientists remain adamant this was a stress response, and that in the same way a mob mentality arises during a riot, the infectious laughter transmitted other symptoms such as crying. In 1962, Tanganyika had just won its independence, and one of the prevailing theories is that the increased pressure to succeed in school caused a kind of mass nervous breakdown.

I know that laughter is contagious, but who knew that it could produce such negative side effects?dunno Oh, well... I certainly learned something new today.

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Comments (3)

rolling on the floor laughing I'm fine really rolling on the floor laughing
wink if wars would end
its worth a try.
If only... sigh
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Central, Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago

I am a mature, self-secure Christian woman who enjoys the simple things in life such as watching interesting movies and comedy shows, sharing in great food (whether I cooked or not, lol!), and good conversation.

I'm not a great cook, but I am goo [read more]