News

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.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs