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No incident of mass hysteria at Pasir Gudang, says minister

No incident of mass psychogenic hysteria was detected in the health issues affecting students in Pasir Gudang, Johor, following the air pollution incident in the area.

Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad in a statement today said this was based on the history of exposure, symptoms, school distribution and psychosocial assessments of the 470 students involved.

“All of them have received psychosocial intervention and of the total, 231 were detected having anxiety, but only 22 from 11 schools were referred to (medical/psychiatric) experts for further treatment,” he said.

Meanwhile, the statement also said that cumulatively, as at 5 pm yesterday, a total of 723 civilians, including schoolchildren, had received psychosocial first aid (PFA) from the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Team.

Overall, the schoolchildren were found with symptoms of breathing difficulties and nausea and they were scared and worried.

“The symptoms experienced by the schoolchildren are considered a normal reaction of those who have gone through a traumatic experience. They were calmed down by the medical personnel on duty,” he said.

Dzulkefly said the Johor Health Department is still monitoring the area and the public is advised to seek immediate medical attention from the nearest health facilities if they have breathing difficulties or experience nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle cramps and weakness.

In fact, he said the PFA created by the ministry was still offering their psychological support service in the affected area.

As of yesterday, 1,138 people in Pasir Gudang had had breathing difficulties, with 1,093 receiving outpatient treatment and 45 others warded.

No new cases were reported as of 5 pm yesterday. - Bernama

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