OMICS International



The Flue, AIDs, Cholera and the Plague are all notorious pandemics that can send a shudder through anyone’s spine just at the thought of being infected by them. For decades these diseases have grabbed headlines because of their threat and status as epidemics. Still, there are many more diseases out there in the world that are both very rare and with symptoms that seem comparably much worse that few have heard. From a disease that can make you hear explosions to one that might have inspired Alice in Wonderland here’s a look at some of these obscure illnesses.


30. Exploding Head Syndrome

Medically termed Episodic Cranial Sensory Shock could be the ultimate villain in a horror movie. The serious disease sound can only be described as similar to what a bomb exploding or a clashing of cymbals within one’s head while trying to sleep must be like. While there are no symptoms of pain or swelling, those who experience the sensation are often caught off guard and traumatized by the jarring interruptions.

29. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

For fans of the aloof girl on an adventure, this one might sound rather intriguing. Still, those who got to choose between a red or blue pill to experience the disease would undoubtedly pick no. Symptoms include hallucinations, disorientation, dysmetropsia, or size distortion and are common during childhood but many grow out of it by their teens.

28. Alien Hand Syndrome

The extremely rare neurological disease seizes an individual’s hand and causes sporadic movements without their knowledge of what is happening. Someone plagued by the disease can reach for objects and manipulate them without ever knowing about it. Sounds like the ultimate fodder for a Law & Order episode.

27. Lymphatic Filariasis

The disease known as elephantiasis is caused by a parasitic worm. Typical cases display no onset symptoms initially but ultimately patients develop massive amounts of swelling in the arms, legs and even genitals.

26. Cancrum Oris

Commonly known as Noma, Cancrum Oris is a gangrenous infection that attacks facial tissue. The disease is prevalent in poverty-stricken areas of Africa and leaves victims horribly disfigured and ostracized.  The swift progress of the disease, leaves suffers quickly disabled, unable to speak or eat normally.

25. Methemoglobinemia

The blue skin disorder is characterized by an abnormal amount of methemoglobin, a type of hemoglobin that carries iron in a person’s blood. Most people have 1% methemoglobin in their blood stream, whereas suffers have 10% and 20%. Iron-carrying hemoglobin carries an extremely reduced amount of oxygen, which means patients diagnosed with methemoglobinemia have a higher risk of heart abnormalities.

24. Kuru

Fortunately, the disease is not likely to be contracted by most. It can only be found in a remote region of New Guinea in the Fore tribe. The disease itself induces abnormal brain tissue building which can cause progressive and incurable brain damage. The disease is completely lethal but it’s only acquirable by (take a breath) eating the brains of an infected victim.

23. Necrotizing Fasciitis

The rare disease is a flesh-eating one and it is an infection that occurs within the deeper layers of skin and subcutaneous tissues. Suffers experience an intense pain, severe trauma, discolored and blistered skin. If left untreated, the mortality rate for the disease is as high as 73 percent.

22. Adhesive Capsulitis

Also known as “frozen shoulder,” this disorder renders the shoulder so painful and stiff that it is virtually unusable. In addition, the symptom can trigger a myriad of health issues such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety.

21. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

CRPS is a lifelong systemic disease that manifests itself as burning pain, and unbelievable sensitivity to touch. It’s been ranked as one of the most painful diseases in the world. That’s above childbirth and amputation on the McGill Pain Index, the standard method of evaluating pain. Most researchers believe the diseases is triggered by trauma.

20. Cotard’s Delusion

The rare mental illness makes a person believe that they are actually dead. Some who experience the illness, however, believe that they are completely immortal.

19. Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva

Also known as the Stone Man Syndrome, the rare disease derives deep within the connective tissue and is a mutation of the body’s repair mechanism. The disease causes scar tissue to regrow as bone when damaged meaning sufferers slowly become encased by their own skeleton.

18. Aquagenic Urticaria

Aquagenic urticaria is essentially defined by an allergy to water. The disorder presents with painful rashes that break out whenever water touches the skin.

17. Argyria

The disease is caused by over exposure to chemical compounds of silver. The most dramatic symptom of the disease includes blue or grey skin.

16. Hailey-Hailey Disease

Victims of the disease experience blisters and lesions on their skin. Fortunately, the sores come and go and heal without scarring. Unfortunately, however, the symptoms are quite gruesome to look at and there are no antibodies to fight the genetic disease.

15. Brainerd Diarrhea

The severe, acute form of diarrhea may be caused by the consumption of contaminated water or raw milk. Sufferers can experience up to 20 episodes of explosive, watery diarrhea on a daily basis.

14. Adiposis Dolorosa

Also known as “Dercum’s disease” sufferers are plagued with tumors called lipomas all over the torso. Nearly all of sufferers suffer from obesity and are between the ages of 35–50.

13. Werewolf Syndrome

Commonly known as Hypertrichosis, Werewolf Syndrome cases the excessive growth of hair over the majority of the body. There is no cure, but suffers can manage the symptoms with hair removers. Temporary hair removal lasts between several hours to several weeks.

12. Ondine’s Curse

This one comes with a dose of German mythology. Ondine was a nymph who fell in love with a mortal and swore that each breath he took would be a testament of his love to her. When he cheated on her, Ondine cursed him to stop breathing the next time he fell asleep. The disease also known as “congenital central hypoventilation syndrome,” means sufferers lack the function of the autonomic nervous system which regulates breathing. Meaning they have to consciously remind themselves to breathe.

11. Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis

The disease is an infection of the brain by a free-living unicellular bacteria that is most commonly introduced by tainted water. Onset symptoms include changes in taste and smell while secondary symptoms include confusion, hallucinations, and seizures. The disease progresses rapidly in a course of three to seven days, with death occurring usually from seven to fourteen days later.

10. Madura’s Foot

Madura’s foot is a brutal fungal infection that can spread all throughout the body but is typically found on the feet and legs. First signs are of infection include swelling and discharge of pus. When the disease akes its tole, it renders the person incapable of walking.

9. Morgellons

Symptoms include crawling, biting and stinging sensations and the occurrence of strange blue, black or red fibers from the skin. Symptoms are accompanied by exhaustion, short-term memory loss, joint pain and vision changes.

8. Pica

It might seem like a dreams host to have someone with pica over for dinner but the fact that sufferers will eat anything isn’t so great. Particularly because they eat anything. That includes paint, clay, plaster or dirt.

7. Moebius syndrome

Moebius is a genetic disorder characterized by complete facial paralysis. Sufferers are unable to close their eyes, look from side to side, or make facial expressions.

6. Lion Face Syndrome

Leontiasis Ossea, or Lion Face Syndrome, is extremely rare. The disease is characterized by an overgrowth of the facial and cranial bones. The increased size of the face can affect a victim’s use of their mouth, nose and sinuses. Commonly, complete loss of sight occurs due to the crushing of the optic nerve by bone.

5. Laughing Death

Laughing Death, known as Kuru, is characterized by sudden bursts of maniacal laughter. Patients are observed with shaking limbs, that can eventually be subsided with rest. Still, a month to three later sufferers begin to sway and stumble, lose the ability to stand, lose the power of coherent speech before ultimately facing their own death.

4. Parry-Romberg Syndrome

The acquired disorder that features symptoms which appear in patients before the age of 20. Symptoms shrinking of the skin and soft tissues on one-half of the face which leads to a non-symmetrical appearance for the victim.

3. Fields Condition

The progressive muscle disorder can cause painful muscle spasms up to 100 times each day. The disease is largely a mystery to doctors, but victims report paralysis and the inability to speak.

2. Progeria

Hutchinson-Gilford progeria is a fatal genetic condition where children experience accelerated aging. Most victims live until their mid-teens to early twenties.

1. Diagnostic Odyssey

The connective tissue disorder involving too-lose joints that are quick to dislocate is medically known as Ehlers-Dalos syndrome.