The World's Rarest Diseases

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The last thing you want to hear from a physician’s mouth is--”We don’t know much about what you have. You have one of the world’s rarest diseases". But for people who have diseases that affect less than 200,000 people this is what they will hear, it is hard to believe that there is a disease we know nothing about in this day and age. If you think about it though, it makes sense. We spend much money on research for diseases and disease control so, if it doesn’t affect a large number of the populace then not much money can go to it.


What are the world’s rarest diseases?


Progeria: This is a disease which the person is born and by the age of two has aged considerably. Their hair begins falling out and their appearance is of an old person over 80 years of age. They begin to have the symptoms of aging and all the physical ailments of it. It is so sad to have an innocent child unable to enjoy their lives due to being too old to do so. It’s a painful disease and a humiliating one as well. The person afflicted generally dies of a heart attack or stroke.


Water Allergy: This occurs later in life after childbirth due to a hormonal imbalance. It is an allergy to the ions that are in water which is not distilled. So, bathing and drinking water--which we need to live--even more than food can’t be consumed or used to bathe more than ten seconds a week. This is horrible. Diet soda is all most of these people can drink because it is made with distilled water. It may last for a while or for the rest of their lives.


Kuru--The Laughing Death: This is an interesting one that is so rare that it was isolated in Papua New Guinea. It has since been eradicated because it is caused by cannibalism. The infected person would burst into laughter and then lose speech, the ability to stand or eat and then they would die of a stroke with a hole in the brain. Whew, that’s a heck of a ride. This is one of the world’s rarest diseases as well as the scariest.


Fatal Familial Insomnia: This is a rare genetic disorder that develops in middle age and gets worse as time goes by. It is a genetic prion disease that wipes out whole families and there is no cure or treatment. You get progressive insomnia until you don’t sleep--at all or in tiny flashes and bouts until you die of exhaustion. It generally takes a person out a year after developing. In the world--to date--there are only 40 cases.


Alien Hand Syndrome: This is where sometimes after brain surgery, tumors or infection--the person has a hand that moves involuntarily. They still maintain feeling in it but it will still give them the feeling of dissociation and will engage in tearing clothes, inappropriate grabbing etc.. Since 1909 there have been 40 to 50 cases.This is one of the strangest of the world’s rarest diseases.