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Prophesised Incurable Flesh-Eating Disease in the Philippines a Hoax—Health Exec

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By Karla Danica Figuerres | February 26, 2014 10:24 AM EST

The mysterious skin disease supposedly linked to a prophecy in the Philippines is a hoax, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

"According to DOH Region I director, one is a leprosy with drug reaction, and the other is psoriasis," Health Undersecretary Ted Herbosa told Rappler via text message.

"There is no truth to a rumor that a flesh-eating disease is spreading in the province," Dr Anna De Guzman, Pangasinan health officer, told INQUIRER.net via phone interview.

The rumour emerged after a local programme "Bandila" reported on Monday that a mysterious flesh-eating disease is spreading in the northern part of the Philippines.

The report cited two cases wherein the patients' skin appears to be decaying.

Dr De Guzman clarified that the first patient was a leper who suffered from an adverse reaction from a drug, while the other patient is diagnosed with psoriasis.

The two cases were not any sort of rare necrotising fasciitis, which is a serious bacterial infection that spreads rapidly and destroys the body's soft tissue, according to the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Necrotising fasciitis is a disease commonly known as flesh-eating disease or flesh-eating bacteria syndrome that attacks the deeper layer of the skin and subcutaneous tissues.

"If you're healthy, have a strong immune system, and practice good hygiene and proper wound care, your chances of getting necrotizing fasciitis ("flesh-eating" bacteria) are extremely low," according to the Centre for Disease Control.

Meanwhile, netizens were abuzz over the mysterious flesh-eating disease in the Philippines. Internet users seek for prayers following the report. The hashtag #PrayforPangasinan has been one of the top trending topics on Twitter, as users continue to hope for the recovery of the patients with the mysterious flesh-eating disease.

Some noted that the mysterious flesh-eating disease is consistent with the prophecy of a certain Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj, who also predicted that a strong typhoon will hit the Philippines.

Clips of the prophecy which he made in April 2013 have been uploaded on YouTube.

Some netizens expressed fear as the alleged prophecy is becoming a reality.

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