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Bizarre Medical Myth Persists in Rural India

Stray dogs rest at a park in Srinagar, March 2, 2012. Srinagar, India
Stray dogs rest at a park in Srinagar, March 2, 2012. Srinagar, India

In India's remote and poverty-stricken areas, health resources and qualified doctors can be scarce. Many people still rely on faith-based healers, who sometimes promote outlandish theories about how the body works.

Shyamali Singh is a high school student in West Bengal's Midnapur district who holds a wild belief about dog bites.

He said getting bitten by a dog leads to the birth of puppies. The victim gets puppies inside his body and becomes like a mad dog.

So-called "puppy pregnancy syndrome" has a long history in the locality.

Psychiatrist Kumar Kanti Ghosh helped document the phenomenon for an article in the medical journal Lancet in 2003. His interest started when a nine-year-old boy came to his clinic about 10 days after being bitten by a domesticated dog.

"There was no issue of rabies," Ghosh said. "But he believed that he had developed a pregnancy with a puppy inside his abdomen. His parents said that sometimes he was barking like a dog and was crawling on his four feet.”

Farmer Gopal Singh is one of Singh's patients who was bitten by a dog about seven years ago. He said he went running to the faith healer- who explained that puppies would be born inside his stomach and he would become like a mad dog and die."

A June 19, 2011 photograph shows Mohammed Yousuf Roshangar, a Kashmiri Muslim faith healer, writing a taweez, a religious writing put inside amulets for protection and invoking blessing, in Srinagar, India
A June 19, 2011 photograph shows Mohammed Yousuf Roshangar, a Kashmiri Muslim faith healer, writing a taweez, a religious writing put inside amulets for protection and invoking blessing, in Srinagar, India
Medical doctor Sanjay Samui is frustrated by the tendency of villagers to cling to such beliefs.

He said they are uneducated village people - they still hold on to such superstitions. He said he tells everyone it is impossible - in no situation can a puppy be born inside a human body.

Doctors said it will probably take years to eradicate medical myths like puppy pregnancy syndrome among illiterate population. Because so many villagers distrust medical doctors, they say the media and local governments should help promote an accurate understanding of the body and what ails it.

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by: kreg
March 29, 2012 1:35 AM
With a Toxocariasis infection or infection with one of its nematode cousins (Well known dog bite diseases), gone burden, A healthy well nourished host can support about 70 mature before the balance falls out of hosts favor, takes aprox 23 yrs. Males out number females by 2x-30x. Females stationary. Males navigate the host completing tasks. You'll think you have a miniature litter of pups in you, And you kinda do, worm pups.

by: Kreg
March 28, 2012 5:29 AM
Diagnose and treat symptoms ( caused by nutritional draw on host, movement, migration in host, multiple discharges through out host, to support the disease’s continues effort to reproduce ) of but will not treat disease directly.

by: Kreg
March 28, 2012 5:27 AM
The symptoms that lead this rural India man to diagnose, internal puppy infection, mad dog disease, exist. The disease symptoms are easily pulled apart, separated, physical/mental health concern incidents and given a variety of names new and old. Most of recurring symptoms are no more than a slight draw on host and or closely resemble something else, cause of will be suggested due to some recent food host ingested or mild physical trauma received.

by: Tora
March 24, 2012 11:02 PM
After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, some experts, who are considered to stand on the side of the government and electric power companies, are trying to diffuse a myth that radiation is good for health.

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