Beijing - Chinese doctors who examined the distended abdomen of an abandoned one-year-old girl found that she had a parasitic twin growing inside her, state radio and local websites said in reports seen on Wednesday.
Meng Ru's belly began to swell months after she was adopted by a childless couple in Luohe city in the central province of Henan, the reports said.
As her abdomen grew to the size of a small drum, superstitious neighbours began calling Meng Ru a "monster" and saying she was pregnant.
Her adoptive father, Kang Xi, who has been caring for her since she was abandoned, took the infant to a Luohe hospital, where scans showed the presence of the parasitic twin.
"The identical baby would become a threat to Meng Ru if not removed soon," a doctor at the hospital were quoted as saying.
Facing a bill of 10,000 yuan (1,500 dollars) for surgery, Kang appealed for financial help for medical treatment, the reports said.
The reports did not say if Kang had raised the money for Meng's treatment or when surgeons planned to operate.
China has reported at least one similar instance of the extremely rare phenomenon of a parasitic twin.
In 2005, doctors in China's Hunan province removed twin parasitic embryos from the abdomen of a baby boy, the official Xinhua news agency reported.(dpa)