The world was a dangerous place to live in a few hundred years ago when personal hygiene was a luxury and vaccines weren’t invented. Believe it or not, chickenpox and fever killed more people than all wars combined because people’s immunity systems were weak.
But, with the beginning of modern times, you would assume that there is little that could still scare us in this world, apart from cancer.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of human conditions, rare diseases, and viruses that don’t have a cure and, no matter how much you would try to clean the surfaces around your house using your magic steam mops, they won’t disappear. Here is a list of ten weird diseases and conditions we bet you didn’t know they exist.
The Vampire Syndrome
No, we’re not talking about Bram Stoker’s famous Dracula story or avid bloodsuckers from Transylvania. The Vampire Syndrome or Xeroderma Pigmentosum is a rare skin condition that affects approximately one in a million people on this earth. It manifests as an extreme sensitivity to UV rays.
People who suffer from it must completely protect themselves from the harmful UV rays or they will experience painful sunburns and skin discolorations. Unfortunately, most people who deal with this extreme skin disease are prone to skin cancer.
Let’s stay in the land of horror tales and inform you that there is another disease that can be partially responsible for the vampire myth. Porphyria is, in fact, a group of diseases that cause certain organic compounds, named porphyrins, to build up and affect the nervous system and the skin.
Those who suffer from it experience receding gums that give the impression of fangs. Other reactions include skin blisters and bubbles whenever exposed to sunlight. Acute episodes of porphyria are known to cause constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, seizures, and even hallucinations. The disease can only be treated with blood injections.
The Tree Man Syndrome
Straight out of a horror movie, this terrible disease is extremely rare. It is called Epidermodysplasia verruciformis, and it looks like tree barks are growing out of someone skin.
What you see, in fact, is a large number of scaly warts that get even nastier if they are exposed to direct sunlight. It is also associated with a high risk of skin cancer and, unfortunately, there is no known cure for it but only extreme and very painful surgeries.
This isn’t what you would call a true allergy since it doesn’t trigger any histamine response, but people who suffer from water allergy immediately develop welts and itchy hives whenever they are exposed to water.
The disease often occurs in the later stages of life due to a hormonal imbalance. Severe cases of people suffering from this skin allergy are said only to be able to shower for 10 seconds a week and are not even allowed to drink water or be caught in the rain.
You may want to reconsider the Smurfs show after finding out that they potentially suffered from this condition that turns their skin blue. Argyria is caused by prolonged exposure to chemical forms of silver. Just like many other toxic substances, silver can get accumulated in the body in the long term, causing the skin to develop a blue shade.
Unfortunately, just like with many other rare diseases and conditions, Argyria doesn’t yet have a cure, and it is believed that the process is irreversible.
The Stone Man Syndrome
Scientifically named Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, this rare disease causes fibrous tissues to regrow as bones. The condition is congenital and, unfortunately, there is no cure or treatment for it. In fact, attempts of removing the bones through surgery could result in explosive bone growth.
At first, it can appear on small surfaces on the body, but it will later occupy almost the entire surface of the body, causing a series of other health problems, including breathing problems. Eventually, the internal organs will fail.
This is, in fact, one of the weirdest things we came across when researching for this article. The disease is called the dancing plague of 1518, and it is considered a case of dancing mania that took place in Strasbourg, five hundred years ago.
It all started with a woman, Mrs. Troffea, who began to dance on the streets of the city without stopping for four up to six days. Within a week other 34 people joined her, dancing day and night. By the end of the month, it was estimated that approximately 400 people more joined, dancing until they died of exhaustion, strokes or heart attacks.
One theory suggests that this frenzy was caused by psychoactive chemical and toxic products of a specific fungus that commonly grows on wheat. The fungus is related to the infamous drug LSD.
Although not exactly a disease but more of a disorder, people suffering from Cotard’s Delusion truly believe that they are missing certain body parts or that they are actually dead. It can be triggered by a traumatic event in the patient’s history though, and, just like many other mental disorders, there are still plenty of things that we don’t know about it.
Patients suffering from Cotard’s Delusion will often spend time in cemeteries or other dark places, and they genuinely believe they are ghosts and no one else could see them. Luckily, this form of delusion can be treated with proper medication.
Also known as Kuru, this disease only affected a specific tribe in New Guinea. It was manifested by sudden bursts of maniacal laughter.
It first appeared as inexplicable laughing bursts, but patients who suffered from Kuru showed other signs a few months later. They would begin to stumble, become cross-eyed, lose coherence in speaking and, eventually, they would die.
Physician Carleton Gajdusek eventually discovered that this had to do with the village’s local custom of eating family members after their death. When cannibalism was finally eliminated, the Kuru disease was eradicated as well.
We couldn’t finish our list without adding this weird disease. It is defined as an adrenal gland failure due to bleeding, usually caused by a nasty bacterial infection.
Within a few hours after the infection occurs, the blood stops flowing to your limbs, leading to gangrene. This disease is often associated with regular meningitis, meaning your brain will be affected too.
To sum up – gangrene members, a permanent state of confusion, inability to move your limbs properly, does it sound like a horror movie yet? So, if you don’t want to turn into a zombie anytime soon, we suggest you thoroughly clean your house, preferably using a high-quality steam cleaner.