No one wants to get sick and no illness is a walk in the park – there are so many ways a human can die from a bacterial, viral or fungal infection it would blow your mind to see a list of them all, not to mention autoimmune conditions, chromosomal abnormalities and the host of other ways human life can go off the rails and get screwed up. Life is no cake walk. But man, in the scheme of things, some disease are just so head and shoulders insane above the others, you need to stop to wonder at just how wicked and bizarre nature truly is.
Chances are you’re familiar with diarrhea. Before I bust out the explanation of Brainerd Diarrhea, I want you to consider what it must mean that there is a kind of diarrhea out there that has earned its own name. What could this diarrhea have going for it that makes it so unique it has to be separated from regular diarrhea? How can diarrhea happen in such a vastly different way that you need to give it a new name? Not sure? Well, here goes…
Brainerd Diarrhea was named for the town of Brainerd, MN, where the largest outbreak of the condition took place, affecting 122 people. Unlike normal diarrhea, Brainerd Diarrhea is characterized by the need to go to the bathroom up to 12 times a day or more, for months. Months. Sometimes it can last over a year. There is no known cause, and no treatment either. You will just crap yourself silly for months and months and months, every single day, until it goes away. That’s why it got its own name.
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Right now, in 2014, there’s an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that is unprecedented. 82 victims have already died and with a mortality rate around 90%, chances are if you contract it, you’re joining them. Few diseases are more horror-movie terror inducing than ebola, a hemorrhagic virus that will cause you to bleed profusely both internally and externally while your organs fail, you suffer tissue necrosis and blood clots form through your body.
After contracting ebola it can take three weeks for it to present itself, but once it does manifest itself the progression is fast and awful and will make you think 28 Days Later has come to life.
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Fungal infections are much more rare than virus and bacterial infections and in all honesty that’s a good thing as some of the fungus on Earth can do such terrible things it’s mind boggling. Such is the case with Madura Foot, also known as eumycetoma, a fungal disease that most often shows up in the feet, particularly of farmers. Usually found in 3rd world countries, the fungus creeps in through cuts in the feet and can remain pretty inert for a long time, except for causing some discharge. Then they begin to grow. The foot will be overtaken with pus-filled lumps that go all the way down to the bone, oozing grainy pus in a variety of colors depending on the nature of the fungus present.
The affected limb grows deformed as the fungus grows and treatment can be attempted with anti-fungals but most often requires surgery, including amputation.
Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva
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Despite having such a fancy name, this disease is anything but pretty – the first word you want to focus on here is “ossificans,” as in ossification, as in the production of new bone material. Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva is also known as Stone Man Syndrome, and it lives up to its name as its victims produce bone matter where no bone matter is needed. Muscles, tendons and ligaments begin to turn to bone as the body’s repair mechanism turns on itself. Worse, surgical removal of the excess bone tissue causes your body to amp up its own repair system and produces even more bone making the condition worse.
Fatal Familial Insomnia
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Fatal Familial Insomnia si pretty much exactly what it sounds like – insomnia that you inherit that will kill you. Only the reality it so much worse than the way it sounds. To start, it’s a genetic disorder you can’t screen for, as the protein markers will only show up by middle age, generally speaking. So if you have it, odds are you have kids before you find out and odds are they’ll get it, too.
Once the condition starts, your life expectancy is about a year and a half. You’ll find yourself suffering insomnia and nothing will help. In fact, sleeping pills make it worse. Then you’ll become chronically paranoid and start experiencing panic attacks and multiple phobias. Next up is hallucinations that last almost half a year. You’ll begin to rapidly lose weight and you’re now totally unable to sleep at all. Eventually dementia and an inability to communicate overtakes you until finally your body totally shuts down and you die.
The disease is such that even a medically induced coma cannot prevent its progression as your brain refuses to shut off. Worse, despite the paranoia, panic attacks and signs of dementia, your brain is actually still functioning properly otherwise, meaning you’re aware of your own decay into madness and death, every step of the way.
The upside? The condition is super rare, only about 100 people worldwide are afflicted, so chances are you’re safe.