Baby leg
The nine-day –old baby is the third child of, an agricultural labourer and his wife Rajeswari from T. Parangini in Villuppuram district of Tamil Nadu.Danny Cain/Flickr

An Indian baby boy has become a medical mystery by suddenly bursting into flames. 

The nine-day-old baby is the third child of Karna Perumal, an agricultural labourer and his wife Rajeswari from T. Parangini in Villuppuram district of Tamil Nadu.

The new-born was found on fire on 15 January.

"I had gone to use the bathroom which is just behind the house. When I was coming back, I heard my baby screaming and ran in to find his feet on fire. I quickly doused him with water and rushed to the local hospital," Rajeswari told The Hindu. The new-born is, now under the care and observation of doctors at the Government Kilpauk Hospital in Chennai.

The couple believes that their baby suffers from a rare condition called Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC), where a living human body catches fire on its own.

The same couple reported a similar incident in August 2013. Rahul, their second child made headlines at the time for catching fire on his own four times in the first three months after birth. Like his younger brother, even Rahul was just nine-days-old when he caught fire for the first time. Doctors said that certain types of gases released by the body while sweating caused the rare occurrence.

"It's a very rare case, it can occur in any age group. It is the spontaneous explosion of burning material from the sweat. It's a serious case. In the past cases, those who happened to be with the person who had this disorder have died. Severe precautions need to be taken. In my experience, this is the first time I've seen such a case. And unfortunately, there is no special cure and it has to be treated like a regular burn injury," Dr Thenmozhi, Assistant Professor in Paediatrics Department, Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital, told IBN Live, at that time.

Rahul is now 18 months old and has not experienced any similar incident after that. Apart from the two boys, the couple has a three-year-old daughter named Narmadha. 

Till date, the world has witnessed nearly 200 cases of spontaneous human combustion.

Frank Baker, a former US soldier, burst into flames in 1985. Baker, who survived the incident, appeared on the Science Channel's Unexpected Files to share his experiences.

In a similar incident reported in 2011, an unidentified Swedish man caught fire while he was waiting for a train at the Gothenberg central train station in Sweden.