Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dozens of students faint

Dozens of students faint

Schoolchildren help a classmate at a Ratanakkiri high school where 75 girls fainted over the course of a week, baffling health officials. National police
Schoolchildren help a classmate at a Ratanakkiri high school where 75 girls fainted over the course of a week, baffling health officials. National Police

Dozens of students faint

Seventy-five students have collapsed at a Ratanakkiri high school in a series of fainting spells over the last week that have baffled school officials and health workers.

“We don’t have a specific cause,” said Hun Sen Phoum Thmey High School Principal Thon Khun, who said the first seven students fainted on Monday and that others have fainted every day since. “We have never had such a case before.”

Provincial Health Department Director Ung Rathana attributed the fainting to lack of air circulation in the classrooms, while provincial referral hospital chief Hing Phan Sokunthea said it could be due to low blood sugar and calcium detected in the students.

However, Khun said parents suspected bad spirits. The school, located in Banlung district’s Laban Siek commune, is conducting prayer and blessing ceremonies in hopes of appeasing any angry spirits, he said.

“This place used to be a mountain and we cleared it to build the school,” Khun said. “It could have upset them.”

According to Khun, all of the students who fainted were female and most were in seventh and eighth grade.

Mass faintings of garment workers – and occasionally students – has been a phenomenon for years in Cambodia. The reasons why are not well understood, but some researchers say the fainting spells could be related to psychological stress.

In one recent study of mass faintings at garment factories, several were found to have taken place at so-called “blighted sites” known to be former Khmer Rouge killing fields or other sites of tragedy.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • Protests planned in New York as Hun Sen to attend the UN

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will speak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. But US-based supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) plan to throw eggs at his car as part of a series of protests to coincide

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • News Analysis: Defiance can last for how long?

    The Cambodian government has so far stood strong in the face of mounting international pressure over its treatment of critics, but analysts, diplomats and ruling party officials now wonder how long the defiance can last. The European Union has led the firestorm of criticism, threatening