The incurable 'flesh-eating' disease that was reported to have affected two people in Pangansinan has been confirmed as a hoax by the Philippine Department of Health.
The department stated that the two cases, which were being projected as victims of the flesh-eating disease, are in fact cases of leprosy and psoriasis.
"There is no reported case of 'flesh-eating' skin disease in the country yet. And there is absolutely no reason for the public to panic," Health Secretary Enrique Ona clarified, while trying to allay fears caused by the rumor, in a DOH statement.
The flesh-eating disease is increasingly being seen as an 'end of the world' sign and the hoax found many believers in the largely Christian-dominated country, especially after it was being linked with a prophecy.
During the 24th National Prayer Gathering in April 2013, Prophet Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj of Jesus Ministries prophesied the Philippines will experience destruction through winds, diseases and floods, reported Local Pulse.
He had earlier prophesied that a typhoon will hit Compostela Valley and Tagum City; a "great destruction through winds" in Mindoro, Samar and Palawan; and heavy flooding in Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Cebu. The believers see it as a fulfillment of his warning, when tropical storm Maring and super typhoon Yolanda left great damage in Luzon and Visayas respectively.
Similarly he had also prophesied that "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."
The Philliphine Department of Health is also expected to give a reaction on the prophecy by Selvaraj.
In the meantime, the health officials confirmed that the first case "21 years old, from Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan, who is on multi-drug therapy for leprosy," while the provincial health officer stated: "Case (2)," from Villasis, Pangasinan. Clinical examination confirmed that the patient has a case of severe psoriasis, a chronic skin disease characterized by red patches covered with white scales."
Provincial health officer Anna Teresa De Guzman said the two patients have now been admitted at the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital, and both cases are "controllable". She also confirmed that there is no truth to the rumor that a so-called 'flesh-eating' illness is fast spreading in the province.