Thousands Students Dead Because Of "Laughter"

It may seem strange and deceiving. But the outbreak occurred in Tanganyika, Tanzania in 1962. It is not a joke that it has caused thousands of people to die. What exactly happened?

Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic outbreak was a mysterious outbreak in 1962 in Tanganyika, Tanzania where people with the outbreak would laugh uncontrollably for hours and days.

The outbreak began on January 30, 1962 at a women's dormitory in the western Kashasha district of Lake Victoria, Tanzania. There were initially 3 female students relaxing like most of the other students at the school.


But strangely enough, they did not stop laughing until it spread to other friends. It is estimated that 95 girls have been infected with the laughter epidemic. They are between 12 and 18 years old. Those infected with the outbreak will experience shortness of breath, pain, and fainting until causing death.

The students continued to laugh even though the teachers and some of the teaching staff at the school were not infected. However, that does not impede the learning process. Finally, they decided to close the school on March 18, 1962.

After the school was closed, the students were allowed to return home. But strangely enough, the outbreak spread to the village of Nshamba, the home of several students who had been affected by the outbreak.


From April to May, 217 people in the village were infected. Most of those infected with this outbreak are in their early teens and teens. Kashasha School was finally reopened on May 21, 1962.

Unfortunately, it closed again at the end of June 1962. In June, the outbreak of laughter spread to a secondary school, Ramashenye, located in Bukoba. At the school 48 students were infected.

The total number about 14 schools was closed and more than a thousand people were exposed to the mysterious outbreaks of laughter. After about 6 to 8 months from the first time, the outbreak has completely disappeared.


To date, the exact cause of the outbreak in a health journal, the Central African Journal Of Medicine, is not yet known. But there is one theory that Purdue University expert Charles F. Hempelmann is trying to put forward.

In theory, the students laughed because they were stress-induced. Apparently, in 1962, Tanzania was newly independent and their parents were in a hurry to send their children to school.


The excessive expectation of parents being burdened by the child causes them to have very high stress. This is also the reason why this outbreak is affecting most schoolchildren.

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