Three-month-old Rahul, who has been repeatedly catching fire because of a rare medical condition known as Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC), is stable, doctors said on Saturday.
The first such case reported in southern India, the baby boy was brought to Chennai’s Kilpauk Medical College Hospital (KMCH) with 10% burn injuries from Vilupuram district in Tamil Nadu on Thursday.
He was referred to the Chennai hospital by the Villupuram collector. Pediatricians are maintaining a close vigil and treating the baby for burn injuries and scars, KMCH sources said.
Spontaneous Human Combustion is a rare medical condition with only 200 cases reported in the past 300 years. Rahul is one of them. “In SHC, burns are caused spontaneously due to gases and fluids emitted by the body,” said doctors.
His mother -- Rajeswari -- said the three-month-old has already suffered four such fire episodes, the first one when he was just nine days old. Rajeswari added that villagers at first thought that she had tried to harm her baby. Her husband Karna is an agricultural labourer.
“The baby is fine and his condition is improving,” Dr Narayana Babu, one of doctors attending to Rahul said. All the tests relating to this condition are being done here only. “We will get the results of the tests in a day or two,” he said.
Doctors at the hospital are also researching on literature available, which is very less, it being a rare condition, he said. In elderly persons, he added, heavy drinking could make the body release alcohol like substances that can catch fire, he added.