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15 of the Rarest Diseases Ever Contracted by Humankind

Rare diseases affect fewer than 2,00,000 people, some of which are familiar but unknown. Normalcy is yet another challenge for the people affected by them.

It’s weird and both strange how these diseases have existed and survived for long. Here are a few rarest and the weirdest conditions you’ll ever encounter, some having no cure. Do let us know how many you are aware of. 

Stoneman Syndrome

Stoneman Syndrome, also called Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva is caused due to genetic mutation related to bones and muscles. It’s an ultra-rare disabling disorder. Their body starts replacing muscles and tissues into bones, thus restricting the patient’s mobility. It is nicknamed Stoneman syndrome due to bones turning into a stone-like substance.

Werewolf Syndrome

The werewolf syndrome, also known as congenital hypertrichosis usually exists in storybooks and is a rare condition for humans to take a wolf-like form. It’s wolf-like because the person with this syndrome tends to grow excessive hair on all parts of the body. It’s genetic and can be observed during the early stages of child growth; the child seems to have thicker fuzz on the face right from 2 years of age.  

 Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

The person suffering from Alice in Wonderland syndrome perceives objects as being far smaller than they are. The condition is also known as micropsia or Lilliput sight. This syndrome causes disruption or alteration of visual perception in a way that external objects are seen incorrectly. It can affect other senses, too, and the patient may lose sense of time. 

Laughing Death

Laughing death is also known as Kuru and isn’t caused by a microorganism but an abnormal protein that affects the cerebellum. The name ‘Laughing death’ came into the picture because of sudden outbursts of maniacal laughter. There is a rare chance of you acquiring it because it’s native to a tribe in New Guinea. Kuru has no cure and is supposed to be fatal after 1 year of contraction. 

Black Hairy Tongue
Image: Woman with Black hairy tongue via shutterstock

It’s a rare but curable disease. Sometimes an unpleasant and distressing condition, only treated with antibiotics. It is a harmless oral condition that gives the tongue a furry, black appearance. The condition is caused by a bacterial build-up on the tongue papillae, due to which these hair-like projections grow 15 times faster, giving it a hairy look. The main reason behind it is an improper diet and poor oral hygiene. 

Stiff Person Syndrome

Stiff person syndrome is a rare progressive disease affecting the nervous system. The person affected suffers from rigidity, muscular stiffness and strong spasms, sometimes so strong that it causes a bone fracture. It’s an autoimmune disease affecting the brain and spinal cord mostly, leading to abnormal posturing of the spine. Stiff person syndrome isn’t curable but can be managed with muscle relaxants, physiotherapy, and exercise.

Exploding Head Syndrome
Image: Man with Exploding head syndrome via Shutterstock

It is a neurological disorder where the patient believes that he/she hears loud explosion noises in their head. The sound is usually heard as they fall asleep or before waking up from sleep and comes under a group of conditions called parasomnias. It’s not scary as it sounds. Nightmares, sleepwalking, and night terrors also fall into the same category of sleep disorders. 

Lion Face Syndrome

This syndrome is actually not a disease but a hereditary disorder. It is a rare condition where the facial bones grow out of proportion, particularly the maxilla and the lower jaw, similar to that of a lion’s face. Growth in this area may cause nasal passage narrowing, compression of the eye orbits and modification of the mouth. Though there is no cure yet, the patient can be helped by surgery.  

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Tree Man Syndrome

It’s scary even to imagine one’s limbs turning into branches of a tree. Though not a real one but a replica of a tree. It is an inherited genetic disorder, making the patients susceptible to human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is contagious and can spread from skin to skin contact. It is a rare skin disease covering the hands, legs, face and ears with wart-like lesions. 

Situs Inversus

In this condition, the person is born with organs situated on the opposite side of the body. Mostly visceral organs are positioned mirrored to their original position. For example, the heart is on the right, or the liver is on the left side. Situs inversus doesn’t usually require treatment and is a rare genetic condition.

Vampire Syndrome
Image: Man with Vampire teeth via Shutterstock

Vampire syndrome doesn’t really mean that you turn into a vampire, but a dominance of the symptoms related to vampire culture. The symptoms include sensitivity to sunlight and discolouration of the urine. The syndrome is also called porphyria and has no cure. It is genetic in nature, with lifestyle changes being the only remedy. For example, avoiding sunlight to stop triggers. 


As kids, we all have experienced the urge to eat non-food items. Is it scary to imagine having a complete disorder relating to it? The patient suffering expresses the desire to eat non-food substances such as chalk, clay, dirt, faeces, paper, soap, mucus, and soil. The disorder must persist for more than a month and can’t be characterized by one or two isolated incidents.

Alien Hand Syndrome

It’s sad to know that the alien hand syndrome has nothing to do with aliens and UFOs. Alien hand syndrome is a rare neurological disorder where the patient is unable to control its limb movements. Most people experience that their one hand is out of their control and has a mind of its own. Some people develop this syndrome after a stroke, trauma or tumour. 

Aquagenic Urticaria
Image: Women with Skin rash disease via shutterstock

Can you imagine not being able to touch water or to swim or even take a bath? That’s how bad this condition is. It is a rare condition in which the skin starts to itch or burn on the slightest exposure to water. Some may also experience rashes and prickling of the skin. Even tears and sweat can be harmful to the patient. 

Necrotizing Fasciitis

Necrotizing fasciitis is also called the ‘flesh-eating bacteria’ and kills around 10,000 to 15,000 people in America. Be careful as these bacteria enter through cuts, burns and insect bites. The bacteria cause inflammation and death of the tissues. While early treatment can increase the chances of survival, a delay may lead to multiple surgeries.

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An asocial ambivert. A dreamer living life in a magical realm. Piscean on a quest for true happiness.

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