Two reported cases of a flesh-eating disease in the Philippines province of Pangasinan which were “predicted” by an Indian prophet have been dismissed as a hoax.
After ABS-CBN aired a report about the mysterious disease on the news program Bandila, social media lit up with speculation that a 2013 prophecy may have come true. The hashtag #PrayForPangasinan trended briefly on Twitter. In response to the frenzy, health officials quickly explained the graphic skin conditions shown in the report as known ailments.
Officials were quick to dismiss the “mysterious” disease. Department of Health Undersecretary Ted Herbosa told Rappler, “One is a leprosy with drug reaction, and the other is psoriasis.” Both patients were admitted to Pangasinan Provincial Hospital, and their conditions were reported to be “controllable.”
Pangasinan health official Dr. Anna De Guzman told Inquirer.net, “There is no truth to a rumor that a flesh-eating disease is spreading in the province…Sometimes, the media attempts to exaggerate to make the news sensational… They just want to connect it to the prophecy.” De Guzman
ABS-CBN published an update to their original broadcast (which has since been removed), in which they noted that the skin conditions in the report had been identified.
In April 2013, Prophet Sadhu Sundar Selvaraja predicted that Pangasinan would experience a terrible disease, “Pangasinan in the north will be affected with a terrible disease and when the disease comes, when it affects them, it will touch the skin, the flesh, and the bones. It will affect them.”
There is no mysterious “flesh-eating” disease in Pangasinan. This scare came from a news report which initially did not identify cases of leprosy and psoriasis.