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1. Guinea worm.
This is not simply a kid’s tale supposed to scare you but actually a parasite that can live in water. While growing, the parasite will live in your intestines and then slowly move towards your limbs until it has found its favorite new home – which will, most likely, be one of your feet.
Once they’ve had enough, they might cause large blisters on your skin and eventually make their way out of your body again. Their extraction can be quite painful but at least the worm will be gone afterwards.
2. Fish Odor Syndrome.
Trimethylaminuria, also known as Fish Odor Syndrome, comes with a messed-up metabolism and the body’s inability to break down trimethylamine. The chemical then builds up and has to leave the body through sweat, urine and saliva.
Why the name, you might be wondering. Well, the disease causes its carrier to basically smell like rotten fish. As though that wasn’t already enough, it is also incurable.
3. Cancrum Oris.
This infectious disease usually affects people that are malnourished and are forced to live in poor hygienic conditions. Cancrum Oris, also known as Noma, destroys the soft and hard tissue around the jaw.
The mortality rate is approximately 70-90 percent and, if patients survive, they will need complex reconstructive surgery.
4. Cornu Cutaneum.
Although this tumor might look like special effects makeup, it is anything but cool. In fact, it is a specifically rare tumor caused by sun exposure or radiation and predominantly affecting elderly men.
For as long as the skin cancer has not spread, it can be removed via surgery and the patient is considered cured.
5. Filarial worm.
What is most scary about this parasite is that it will live in your eye and eventually cause blindness. In third-world countries, the filarial worm is the second most common cause for blindness.
Approximately 170 million people are currently infected with the so-called Filariasis. Worm larvae are transmitted from one individual to another by mosquito bites which is why the parasitic disease is hard to contain.
6. Madura Foot.
This chronic fungal disease is also known as Eumycetoma. Usually, this disease is caused by certain fungi entering the body through open skin cuts. The infection is not painful at first and could then spread to the bone tissue. Most commonly, it will infect the feet but it can also spread to the hands or the back.
If not detected early enough, patients might have to face amputation of feet or hands.
7. Pica Syndrome.
This mental disorder known as Pica syndrome causes humans to compulsively eat inedible items that cannot be digested. It starts with harmless things such as ice cubes and might end with pieces of metal, paint, glue or sticks.
If not supervised properly, patients suffering from the Pica syndrome might die due to poisoning or internal bleeding. The above picture shows the impressive amount of non-digested food taken from a patient’s stomach.
You better watch out for those mosquitoes – Elephantiasis is another disease commonly transmitted by mosquito bites. According to NORD, the infection will cause an “obstruction of the lymphatic system, which results in the accumulation of a fluid called lymph in the affected areas.”
It is not the whole body that will swell up, however, but mostly the limbs as well as the genital areas. Treatment is complicated and, so far, there is no cure. However, scientists hope to eradicate the disease by 2020.
9. Polyglandular Addison’s Disease.
Patient’s suffering from this genetic disease are incapable of producing the steroid hormones cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol levels affect the body’s response to stress so that most patients will be unable to handle stressful situations.
However, only one in 100,000 Americans are suffering from Polyglandular Addison’s Disease.
10. Harlequin Ichthyosis.
This very rare genetic disorder mainly affects the skin of newborn infants. Due to its thickness, the skin cannot be moved and starts breaking, creating deep cracks all over the body.
The main symptoms result from the skin not being able to perform as a protective barrier, “making it more difficult for affected infants to control water loss, regulate their body temperature, and fight infections.”
11. Fatal Familia Insomnia.
Oftentimes, this inherited disease will only kick in around the age of 50. Affecting the brain as well as the nervous system, it is a neurodegenerative condition occuring when “abnormal proteins clump together and accumulate in the brain, leading to tissue damage.”
Patients will first complain about a lack of sleep and then not be able to sleep at all anymore. Unfortunately, sleeping pills do not help either. In most cases patients will die within the course of a year.
12. Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva.
This extremely rare condition will cause the body’s repair mechanism to go into overdrive. Connective tissue such as tendons and ligaments will gradually get replaced by bone structures – resulting in a painfully deformed body.
The genetic disease can already be detected in early childhood since most of the children are being born with very big, malformed toes. In the end, patients suffering from this disease will hardly be able to move anymore.
13. Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis.
Also known as the tree man illness, this heritable illness is caused by the human papillomavirus. Bodies are basically being overgrown by warts-like skin structures or tumors. So far surgery is the only treatment that can help patients regain some of their quality of life.
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