15 Utterly Bizarre Medical Syndromes and Unexplained Outbreaks of Illness

15 Utterly Bizarre Medical Syndromes and Unexplained Outbreaks of Illness

From the depths of our minds to the furthest reaches of the unknown, this list explores a variety of strange and mysterious illnesses that have baffled the medical world. From Cotard’s Syndrome, in which one denies the existence of their own body, to Alien Hand Syndrome, in which a limb seemingly takes on a life of its own, these strange afflictions have challenged our understanding of the human condition. 

We will explore the mysterious epidemic that struck the Calcutta Telephone Exchange in 1987, the ultra-rare Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) that causes abnormal bone growth and immobility, and the unidentified virus linked to an epidemic in West Otago. We will also take a look at the burning faces and ear noises that plagued the poor ventilation and work stress of the Calcutta Telephone Exchange, the insatiable appetite and decreased muscle tone of Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), the unexplained chronic symptoms of Gulf War Veterans, and the mysterious odor that sparked hysteria among schoolchildren. 

We will even delve into the strange and mysterious illnesses that have afflicted Aboriginal people of Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory of Australia, the possible toxin in litchi fruit linked to an outbreak of acute neurologic illness in India, and the possible link between pulsed radiofrequency/microwave radiation exposure and a mystery illness affecting U.S. and Canadian diplomats. 

So, if you are ready to explore the strange and mysterious illnesses that have baffled the medical world, then read on!

Mysterious illness baffles researchers and islanders alike.

CRACKED NEUROLOGICAL, PSYCHIATRIC, AND TERATOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS PLAGUE ABORIGINAL PEOPLE. Aboriginal people of Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory of Australia are suffering from an unusual disease complex with neurological, psychiatric and teratological features, which is explained differently by the island people and researchers from the outside.

NCBI / Gebie 

Diplomats suffer from mysterious illness: Is radiation the culprit?

CRACKED UNUSUAL SYMPTOMS: COULD RADIOFREQUENCY BE TO BLAME? A mystery illness affecting U.S. and Canadian diplomats has been linked to pulsed radiofrequency/microwave radiation exposure, which can cause a range of symptoms including hearing loss, tinnitus, sleep problems, headaches, cognitive problems, vision, balance, and speech problems, and nosebleeds.


Mysterious illness strikes India – litchi fruit to blame?

CRACKED ACUTE NEUROLOGIC ILLNESS: IS LITCHI FRUIT THE CULPRIT? Outbreaks of an unexplained acute neurologic illness have been reported in Muzaffarpur, India since 1995, and investigations have suggested that it may be caused by a toxin, possibly related to litchi fruit.

NCBI / Times of India 

Mysterious fever, weight loss, and swollen lymph nodes plague Milan’s intravenous drug users.

CRACKED MARCH TO OCTOBER 1983: 16 MILANESE ADDICTS SUFFER. 16 out of 133 intravenous drug addicts in Milan, Italy were observed to have persistent unexplained lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes) with intermittent fever, weight loss, night sweats and malaise from March to October 1983.


Mysterious odor sparks schoolchildren hysteria: 77% suffer physical symptoms.

CRACKED MYSTERIOUS ODOR TRIGGERS MASS HYSTERIA AMONG SCHOOLCHILDREN. An outbreak of mass hysteria among schoolchildren was triggered by a gaseous odor and was influenced by psychological and environmental factors, as well as the response of officials. Results of a questionnaire showed that 77% of students experienced physical symptoms during the epidemic. - N KOAR

NCBI / Pexels 

Veterans of the Gulf War: Unidentified illnesses and chronic symptoms.

CRACKED MYSTERIOUS CHRONIC SYMPTOMS PLAGUE GULF WAR VETERANS. Gulf War Veterans may experience a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems, which are referred to as chronic multisymptom illness and undiagnosed illnesses by the VA.

Public Health / VFW 

Mystery illness baffled Calcutta: poor ventilation and work stress to blame?

CRACKED STRANGE EPIDEMIC STRIKES CALCUTTA TELEPHONE EXCHANGE: BURNING FACES AND EAR NOISES. An epidemic of a strange illness occurred in the Calcutta Telephone Exchange in 1987, with symptoms varying from burning feeling on the face to noises in the ear. Investigation of the network revealed no specific electronic causes, but poor ventilation and work stress were likely causative factors. GANESH MUSTARD OIL GANESH MUSTARD OIL POLICE 608

Pub Med / Paddle Steamers 

"My hand is alive... and it's out of control!"

CRACKED UNCONTROLLABLE, PURPOSEFUL MOVEMENTS: ALIEN HAND SYNDROME. Alien hand syndrome is a motor control disorder characterized by involuntary, purposeful movements of the affected limb, which can be either a hand or a leg. Patients often experience a sense of foreignness towards the limb and may even personify it.

NCBI / NetMeds 

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome: Is your head really that big?

CRACKED ALICE IN WONDERLAND SYNDROME: ARE YOUR HANDS BIGGER THAN YOUR HEAD? Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is a set of symptoms characterized by an alteration of body image and visual perception, most commonly experienced at night. Symptoms include perceiving the size of body parts and external objects incorrectly, with the head and hands often appearing disproportionately large.

NCBI / Slashfilm 

Sleep, eat, forget: Kleine-Levin Syndrome strikes again.

CRACKED MYSTERIOUS DISORDER: SLEEP, EAT, AND BE CONFUSED. Kleine-Levin Syndrome is a rare disorder that primarily affects adolescent males and is characterized by recurring episodes of excessive sleep, food intake, irritability, and disorientation. Affected individuals are normal between episodes, but may not remember everything that happened during the episode.

NIH / Healthline 

Deny your own body? It’s not just a philosophical debate anymore.

CRACKED ARE YOU SURE YOU EXIST? COTARD'S SYNDROME MAY SAY OTHERWISE. Cotard's syndrome is a rare neuropsychiatric condition in which the patient denies existence of one's own body, leading to self-starvation and nutritional deficiencies.

NCBI / Pexels 

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