Rahul, a three-month-old baby from Villupuram, India, is believed to suffer from a rare condition known as Spontaneous Human Combustion, which causes his body to burn without any external source of ignition. Only 200 similar cases have been reported around the world in the last 300 years.
Just nine days after he was born, Rahul was found burning by his mother, Rajeswari, who scampered to douse the flames. “People thought I set him on fire deliberately,” she told reporters, but since then her baby to suffer three more similar accidents. Instead of supporting the family, the community ostracized them, and Rahul’s father says they have lost everything as a result. Luckily, the district collector called the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital after hearing their story, and the baby was admitted last Thursday, and is being treated for severe burn injuries. His parents said they visited other hospitals before, but no one could tell them what causes his body to burst into flames for no apparent reason. Dr. R. Narayana Babu, head of pediatrics at KMC says “It has been scientifically documented that concentrated combustion air excreted from the body could result in such episodes. In elderly persons, heavy drinking could lead to the body excreting alcohol-like substance which could get ignited.” Due to an unknown mechanism, these substances are escaping the body without breaking down to non-combustible forms.