‘Tree Man’ of Bangladesh Seeks Treatment as Disease Returns; What is Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis?
The 'Tree Man' Abul Bajandar (Photo Credits: YouTube Screengrab, The Young Turks)

Abul Bajandar, widely known as the ‘Tree Man’ of Bangladesh, has reportedly suffered a relapse of the disease that had had him disabled for years. Abul had been suffering from Epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EV), a genetic condition that made his skin susceptible to the human papillomavirus (HPV), resulting in raised bark-like warts on the body. It took Abul 25 surgeries to remove the warts on his arms and legs in 2016, giving the medical community a hope that the disease can be treated. He was finally freed of the disorder and could use his hands like before. But according to Agence France-Presse, the disease has returned and has spread out across his body.

After having suffered from EV all his life, 25-year-old Abul from Khulna was admitted at the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital. A board of doctors was set up to treat Abul. Within a year, five kilos of the bark-like formations were removed from his hands, feet and legs. He was responding well to the treatment, but he quit without consulting the doctors when he faced a sudden relapse. US Man Coughs Up Blood Clot Shaped Like His Lungs! Bizarre Pic Goes Viral.

He captured worldwide attention, and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina herself promised to treat him for free. Surgeon Samanta Lal Sen from the hospital said that the growth has spread to other parts of his body. He told AFP that Abul’s condition might be more complicated than previously thought. Abul dropping out of the treatment has cost him his progress, and the surgeons will now have to start from scratch.

What is EV or Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis?

EV is a rare genetic condition, which leaves the skin more vulnerable to the HPV subtypes 5 and 8. It causes the skin to develop thick bark-like warts, which can spread from one site to another.

The disease usually manifests in the youth, where hyperpigmented or hypopigmented warts develop progressively over the years. But apart from causing disability in patients, the disease can also increase the chances of skin cancer – non-melanoma skin cancers in 30-60 percent of the patients in the sun-exposed areas of their body.

What Are The Causes of EV?

EV is a genetic disease, which is passed on from blood relatives. Around 10 percent of patients have the disease may have inherited from a shared, common ancestor. People with EV generally have an impaired immune response to the HPV that causes the disease.

What Are The Symptoms?

EV symptoms are all related to the skin on the sun-exposed parts of the body, such as hands, feet, face and ears. And they mostly emerge during puberty. They include bumpy lesions, bark-like warts and inflamed plaques.

How is EV Treated?

There’s no cure for the disease. Treatment includes surgically removing plaques and lesions, but there’s no guarantee that they won’t return. Surgeons typically scoop out the warts with a curette, keeping the skin under the lesions intact.

Other methods such as cryotherapy, where the warts are frozen off to remove them, and liquid nitrogen are also used in treating EV.