Rare Diseases

Rare diseases may not be common, but they are no less painful or difficult than conditions you've heard of. Learn about the causes and symptoms of rare diseases as well as how patients can find treatments for their unusual conditions.

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The director-general of the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern July 23, 2022. So, what exactly does that mean?

By Kathryn H. Jacobsen

When you were a kid, your mom probably told you not to go around barefoot because you could get worms. But are nematodes still a problem today?

By Alia Hoyt

Although the disease is associated with sailors of yore, it can affect anyone lacking vitamin C. And it still impacts some people today.

By Mark Mancini


If you have a gut feeling something is off in your physical or mental well-being, a parasite could be the culprit.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

So far there have been no reports of people contracting zombie deer disease, but could it make the jump from animal to human?

By Laurie L. Dove

Naming a disease after a person makes it more memorable than giving it a bland technical moniker. It's also a good way to pay tribute to its discoverer. Who were the people that gave their names to Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other diseases?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

In 1998, a panel of doctors at the National Institutes of Health surmised that Joseph Merrick's affliction may have been caused by a condition known as Proteus syndrome. Find out what it is and what causes it.

By Elise Ritter


We'll look at the top 10 rare diseases, some of which you may never have heard of -- and others which you hope you never will again.

By Discovery Fit and Health Writers

There are many diseases out there you've never heard of. We've put together the top 20 diseases you've probably never heard of that are rare and unusual.

By Discovery Fit and Health Writers

Joseph Merrick, the "Elephant Man," was the most shockingly disfigured person in history. Parts of his body were grossly enlarged. Check out these images of the Elephant man.

By Discovery Fit and Health Writers

Let's say you have a collection of baffling physical symptoms. You know something is very wrong with your body, but no one seems to be able to figure it out. Welcome to the doctor's visit of someone with a medical condition you've never even heard of.

By Tom Scheve


What if you were the only person in the world with a disease, and scientists used your name to classify it? How would doctors know what was wrong?

By Robert Lamb

There are times when it feels like a pretty lucky thing to be living in the 21st century -- diseases like polio and smallpox took countless lives before a cure was found. Read our list of 12 diseases that were cured in the 20th century.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.