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Tree Man Syndrome: Bangladeshi Girl May Be First Female With Rare Disease

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A young Bangladeshi girl may be the first female in the world to be identified with a rare genetic disorder called "tree man syndrome."

Sahana Khatun, 10, began growing bark-like warts on her face in late 2016. At that time, her father was not worried.

As the warts began to spread, however, Sahana's father grew concerned and travelled from his Bangladeshi village to the capital Dhaka to get help, reports the BBC.

Rare Variety Of Tree Man Syndrome

The young girl bears unusual bark-like warts on her nose, chin, and ear. She has since been admitted to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital on Jan. 29.

According to her father, Mohammad Shahjahan, Sahana started to develop the disease in 2009, when he noticed some rashes on his daughter's face.

These are thought to be the symptoms of epidermodysplasia verruciformis or tree man syndrome, a rare genetic disease of which there are only a handful of known cases all over the world.

This condition, which causes malignant skin tumors to grow, is thought to be caused by an immune system defect that increases a person's susceptibility to the human papillomavirus.

"We don't know yet if this is (one) hundred percent a 'tree man' syndrome," said Dr. Samanta Lal Sen, the chief plastic surgeon at the hospital.

Although Sahana's condition is a mild form of the disease, Lal Sen said it is definitely a variety of epidermodysplasia verruciformis.

Doctors plan to operate and remove the lesions in Sahana's face next week.

Sahana's mother passed away when the young girl was six, and her father works as a laborer. Because of the family's financial state, the hospital will cover all medical and personal expenses of Sahana's treatment.

'Tree Man' Of Bangladesh

Another patient is receiving treatment at the same hospital for epidermodysplasia verruciformis.

Known as the "tree man" of Bangladesh, 27-year-old rickshaw driver Abul Bajandar suffered from tree branch-like growth that sprouted from his feet, fingers, and palms.

Before receiving surgery to get the growth removed, Bajandar lived with his condition for years. It grew to a hefty 11 pounds.

Since then, Bajandar has had 19 operations to heal his hands. He will receive a few more operations before he is released from the hospital.

Lal Sen, who is also treating Bajandar, said that he is now in "good shape" and can write and eat using his own hands.

The doctors at Dhaka Medical College hope to do the same for young Sahana.

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