Very rare blood diseases
Blue-skinned people? Vampire Syndrome? When we were kids, we couldn't hear enough about illnesses, horrid medical conditions or weird diseases. Not much has changed since then. When we hear about an outbreak of a flesh-eating bacteria or some other rare sickness, we're fascinated. But now we're also terrified. Some rare diseases are very real and if you catch them, you're a goner. Here's a list with 10 of the most rare diseases out there.
Elephantiasis: grossly enlarged members
Lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, is best known from dramatic photos of people with grossly enlarged or swollen arms and legs. The disease is caused by parasitic worms, including Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and B. timori, all transmitted by mosquitoes. Lymphatic filariasis currently affects 120 million people worldwide, and 40 million of these people are seriously diseased. When an infected female mosquito bites a person, she may inject the worm larvae, called microfilariae, into the blood. The microfilariae reproduce and spread throughout the bloodstream, where they can live for many years. Often disease symptoms do not appear until years after infection. As the parasites accumulate in the blood vessels, they can restrict circulation and cause fluid to build up in surrounding tissues. The most common, visible signs of infection are excessively enlarged arms, legs, genitalia, and breasts.
Progeria: the 80-Year-Old Children
Progeria is caused by a single tiny defect in a child's genetic code, but it has devastating and life-changing consequences. On average, a child born with this disease will be dead by the age of 13. As they see their bodies fast forward through the normal process of ageing they develop striking physical symptoms, often including premature baldness, heart disease, thinning bones and arthritis. Progeria is extremely rare, there are only around 48 people living with it in the whole world. However, there is a family that has five children with the disease.
Werewolf Syndrome: the wolf people
When two year-old Abys DeJesus grew dark, hairy patches on her face, doctors said she has a condition known as Human Werewolf Syndrome. The disease is called werewolf syndrome because people with it look like werewolves - except without the sharp teeth and claws. In Mexico, a large family of men had hair that covered their faces and upper bodies. Two brothers were even offered a part in the X-Files but they turned down the offer.
Blue Skin Disorder: the blue people
A large family simply known as the "blue people" lived in the hills around Troublesome Creek in Kentucky until the 1960s. They were the blue Fugates. Most of them lived past the age of 80, with no serious illness - just blue skin. The trait was passed on from generation to generation. People with this condition have blue, plum, indigo or almost purple skin.
Pica: the urge to eat non-food substances
People diagnosed with Pica have an insatiable urge to eat non-food substances like dirt, paper, glue and clay. Though it is believed to be linked with mineral deficiency, health experts have found no real cause and no cure for this disorder.
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