Nature is cruel, but science can work wonders. A case of tree-man disease, medically known as epidermodysplasia verruciformis, which turned up in Bangladesh affecting Abul Bajandar, a young 26 year-old man from the southern district of Khulna, has been successfully treated and Bajandar is continuing to recover, more than 1 month after his first surgery.
The disease, which isn’t contagious but must be incredibly difficult to live with, causes warts to grow in a person’s skin which, when left untreated, can grow rapidly into formations that resemble tree bark or roots, making the victim look like something out of a Disney haunted forest.
Most people won’t ever display symptoms of the incredible condition as it is caused by an extremely rare recessive genetic disorder that results in an abnormal susceptibility to human papillomaviruses (HPVs), most notably HPV types 5 and 8.
Interestingly though, HPV 5 and 8 are very widespread and found in up to 80% of a given normal human population, it’s just that most people do not possess the genetic disorder, and so they do not react in such a violent way to having the virus in their system.
Bajandar comes from a humble background but thankfully doctors at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Bangladesh’s largest state-run hospital, waived the cost of treatment and went ahead with the surgeries he needed to be set free.
A medical team first performed tests to ensure that surgery to remove the massive warts wouldn’t cause further health problems, before going ahead.
But how did the growths become so big in the first place? Bajandar said he would have sought treatment sooner, but when the warts first appeared around 10 years ago, he didn’t think much of them.
He tried to cut them away himself, but it was painful to do so, and as he and his family couldn’t afford to pay for an operation, Bajandar sought out herbal remedies but they only made the problem worse.
The warts only started growing quickly a few years ago, when he was eventually forced to quit his work as a bicycle puller.
Bajandar’s growths are said to have weighed at least 11 pounds (5 kg), and will involve multiple procedures to remove. The whole process will take six months to a year to complete, and there is no guarantee that the warts won’t come back. At least for the moment, thank goodness for modern medicine.