Doctors have been left stunned by an 11-year-old girl who sweats blood ‘like Jesus’ did, with some believing she ‘could solve one of the Bible’s greatest mysteries’.
The child, from Vietnam, started showing symptoms and seeping blood three to four times a day while preparing for her exams a few months ago.
She was initially diagnosed with a skin infection and given a course of medication, but the problem continued.
Doctors also put the strange phenomenon down to stress, but have since diagnosed the girl with an ultra-rare condition.
Medics at the Quy Hoa National Leprosy Dermatology Hospital believe that the child, whose identity is being withheld, has hematidrosis.
Hospital director Vu Tuan Anh said just one in 10,000,000 were affected by the phenomenon.
“It is characterised by blood oozing from skin,” he said.
“The bleeding is due to the rupture of the very small blood vessels of the skin.
“The cause of hematidrosis is not well known, but factors include increased vascular pressure, inflammation of the vessels of the skin, bleeding disorders, menstruation and high blood pressure.
“Fear and intense emotional stress could also play a role in the cause of the disease, and symptoms may occur spontaneously or after emotional stress.”
Some claim the illness could account for the Biblical ‘Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane’, where Jesus is said to have sweated blood.
According to scripture, Jesus sweated blood after accepting that he would be betrayed, having pleaded with God, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”.
Nobody else in the patient’s family has faced hematidrosis.
Dr Anh said treatment was difficult, and mainly focused on dealing with the symptoms and reducing anxiety.
“Treatment is a challenge,” he said. “We may use vitamin C, antidepressants and propranolol but results are undefined.
“Hematidrosis does not affect lifespan but can cause discomfort and fear. It can also cause stigma in social situations and so reduce quality of life.”
Past investigations into the condition have revealed no abnormalities in the blood or sweat glands of patients, and no visible skin damage.