36 students suffer head, stomach pain; doc blames it on ‘mass hysteria’  over Dengvaxia

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 27 January) — At least 36 high school students from a public school in North Cotabato complained of head and stomach ache after they swallowed  ferrous sulfate or iron supplements the health staff gave them on Friday, an official from the Cotabato schools division of the Department of Education (DepEd) said.

Cotabato schools division superintendent Omar Obas said the students from the Pigcawayan National High School in Pigcawayan town were rushed to a nearby rural hospital for treatment.

A doctor at the hospital told Obas their students were just suffering from a ‘mass hysteria’ brought about by negative reports about the Dengvaxia vaccine.

Obas said it started when one of the students vomited and complained of stomach pain after she was given ferrous sulfate.

“When her classmates learned of her situation, some of them also made the same complaint.  So, there was a mass hysteria.  Understandably, these students knew about what happened with Dengvaxia vaccine,” said Obas.

The official stressed that parents and guardians of these students need not worry as iron supplements are different from Dengvaxia vaccine distributed in different parts of Luzon in 2017.

Obas was told the students returned home after their classes ‘healthy, safe, and sound.’

Elementary and high school students from different towns in North Cotabato were given free ferrous sulfate on Friday.

The provincial DepEd official clarified that health staff from the Department of Health (DoH) in the province administered the distribution of the food supplements to different schools. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)