Mass hysteria outbreaks hit Bangladesh’s garment workers

[Entire societies have been brutalized, poisoned and traumatized by inhuman colonial and neo-colonial/comprador-ish exploitation.  The most recent mass trauma has hit Bangladesh, where the largest part of the world’s clothing is produced by workers in desperate conditions.  —  Frontlines ed.]
Doctors say ‘mass psychogenic illness’ – not contaminated water – is to blame for recent outbreaks of sickness. Garment workers are fearful of workplace safety after a year of deadly accidents. 

By Correspondent / June 17, 2013

 Bangladeshi garment workers who fell ill during their shifts at a sweater factory lie on beds at a hospital on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, June 6, 2013. About 450 garment workers fell ill at the Starlight Sweater Factory near Bangladesh's capital, due to possible water contamination.  --   A.M. Ahad/AP


Bangladeshi garment workers who fell ill during their shifts at a sweater factory lie on beds at a hospital on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, June 6, 2013. About 450 garment workers fell ill at the Starlight Sweater Factory near Bangladesh’s capital, due to possible water contamination. —
A.M. Ahad/AP

Hundreds of garment workers fell ill on Sunday after drinking water of questionable quality at their workplace in Gazipur at the outskirts of Bangladesh‘s capital, Dhaka.

The incident occurred less than two weeks after about 800 workers fell ill and were hospitalized after drinking water at Starlight Sweaters Ltd., which produced clothes for European buyers Carrefour and Otto.

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research in Bangladesh, which tested samples of the water after the incident at Starlight Sweaters on June 5, said they did not find anything unusual from the regular contaminants in water. The Institute’s director, Dr. Mahmudur Rahman, found the case to be a result of “mass psychogenic illness.”

The director believed the illness was a result of a panic attack that may have been triggered by factory authorities announcing that something was wrong with the water and closing work for the day. Continue reading