A curious report of Koro reported from North Bengalian insight into probable propagation of culture bound diseases

Conference Proceeding

Nirmal Kumar Bera


Koro is a culture bound illness found in South East Asia which is characterized by the intense and strong belief that the sexual organs (penis in males and the nipples in females) will retract into the body cavity which will cause death. We describe a case who presented with the symptoms which started soon after receiving information of such illness in the vicinity. Case Report: A 38 year old male presented to the Psychiatry OPD with complaints of intense fear that he was going to die as his penis was retracting inside his abdomen. He had developed the symptoms acutely 6-7 hours prior to presenting to the Outpatient clinic. There was no history of any previous psychiatric illness .Mental Status Examination revealed that he was intensely anxious but there was no thought or perceptual disturbances. On enquiry, it was found that some people in a nearby village had recently developed a similar illness and he was informed about such an illness by a telephone call from a friend 2 hours prior to his symptoms .He was subsequently diagnosed as suffering from Koro. He was treated with Benzodiazepines and supportive therapy. Discussion: The detailed history in this case strengthens the evidence that technological advances (like mobile phones in this case) may mediate the genesis of Koro like symptoms in the general population. Koro seems to be more a panic/anxiety response to symptoms occurring to at least one individual in a similar geographical area. The authors are of the opinion that classification of Koro as a culture bound syndrome need a thorough relook and further evidence is needed to state otherwise.

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