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Tables for:
Pokemon Contagion: Photosensitive Epilepsy or Mass Psychogenic Illness?

[South Med J 94(2):197-204, 2001. © 2001 Southern Medical Association]


Table 1. Comparison of Symptoms Typical of Seizures, Mass Hysteria, and Pokémon Episodes


SymptomGran Mal
Seizure
Mass
Hysteria
Pokémon
Episode
Convulsions/muscle spasmYesYesYes
Fainting/loss of consciousnessYesYesYes
NauseaYesYesYes
Drooling/frothingYesYesNo
Sudden cryingYesYesNo
Loss of bladder controlYesNoNo
Bluish skinYesNoNo
Biting tongueYesNoNo
HeadachesNoYesYes
Bad/Blurry visionNoYesYes
DizzinessNoYesYes
VomitingNoYesYes
Shortness of breathNoYesYes


Table 2. Sequence of Events Surrounding Pokémon Episode


Tuesday, December 16, 1997, 6:30 PM
Pokémon episode 38 ("Computer Warrior Polygon") airs; flashing-lights segments begin at about 6:50 PM; Fire-Defense Agency claims that between 6:50 and 7:30 PM, 618 children were taken to hospitals with convulsions, headaches, and vision problems.
Tuesday, December 16, 1997 (later that night)
Evening news reports that hundreds of children were taken to hospitals from Pokémon "fits"; some news shows rebroadcast scene suspected of causing seizures. Second wave of children (number unknown) is affected after hearing or watching news.
Wednesday, December 17, 1997
Pokémon attacks are "the talk of the schoolyards."8 "Television and newspaper headlines Wednesday morning were dominated by the reports."10 Number of victims reported by mass media ranges from >600 to >700.
Thursday, December 18, 1997
Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reports that nearly 13,000 children had "at least minor symptoms,"9 with 685 taken to hospitals.
Friday, December 19, 1997
Yomiuri Shimbun reports on completed investigations by the newspaper and local boards of education, finding the number of children reported to have experienced "fits, nausea, and other symptoms" to be 11,870.5