The bizarre phenomenon of Rahul, a two-and-half-month-old boy erupting in flames spontaneously may receive some closure today!

Doctors treating the infant are expecting his test results which may provide some insight into how and why Rahul went up in flames.

Hailing from a village near Tindivanam, the little one is under medical intervention for severe burn injuries at Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital since Friday.

Doctors are mulling over the possibility of Rahul suffering from spontaneous human combustion (SHC), a rare condition in which the burns may be due to fire ignited by combustible substances emitted from the body of the child.

Though the initial test results of blood and urine samples were normal, doctors have sent sweat swabs, blood and urine samples to a private laboratory to test for abnormalities metabolic functions.

“SHC is a hoax theory. A baby catching fire spontaneously is not possible,” said burns specialist at KMC Dr J Jagan Mohan. “Alcoholics have a very small percentage of alcohol secreted in their sweat but even that wouldn’t generate a fire.”

Four episodes of self ignition
His parents Rajeswari and Karna, claim the infant has caught fire four times since he was born. Apparently, Rahul went up in flames nine days after his birth and then there were three more similar incidents. Each time the flames were doused with water, the last episode occurring a fortnight ago.

“We have only the mother’s version. The baby has to be carefully observed. We have to investigate whether the ailment is genetic,” said R. Jayachandran a professor in the department of pediatrics at KMC.

Rahul recovering well
According to the doctors, the baby is being given treatment that is only symptomatic along with the administration of antibiotics until a proper diagnosis is made. Meanwhile, the child is recovering well. His internal organs are functioning normally, there are no signs of fractures and most of the burns have healed.

The kind of clothes the child was wearing during the time of the accident and the possibility of him coming in contact with a hot object are being probed.

J. Jagan Mohan said, “Such a case has not been reported so far. The injuries have healed and the scars are from an older accident that may have occurred less than three weeks ago. We need to explore the possibility of child abuse.”

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