A Variant of Mass (Epidemic) Psychogenic Illness in the Agricultural Work Setting

  • Esser, Thomas E.;
  • Kurtz, Peter H.


California experiences episodes of suspected agricultural field worker poisonings annually. These episodes are not only disruptive to ongoing agricultural operations, but the prospect of such poisoning is a source of great concern to workers, employers, and government agencies alike. Three episodes of group illness are examined in which actual poisoning does not seem to be involved. Factors contributing to the generation of these episodes include fear, uncertainty, incomplete understanding of hazards, and social pressures. Physicians can minimize extended disability for workers by reassuring victims and waiting until circumstances are verified before issuing statements which may further alarm or add to already existing fears.


JOURNAL: J Occup Med. 1989; 31(4): 331-334.

Note: Journal of Occupational Medicine.

NLOM ID#: 89235812 .

Publication #: 89235812

This document was extracted from the CDC-NIOSH Epidemiology of Farm Related Injuries: Bibliography With Abstracts, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

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