Published November 18, 2007
Dede, a 35-year-old fisherman from a rural Indonesian town, is living with a rare and peculiar medical condition that has transformed his life and his body, England's Telegraph reports. Tree-like warty “roots” cover his skin, and grow outward from his arms and feet.
The condition began after Dede cut his knee as a teenager. The warts progressively spread across his body, due to a rare genetic fault that prevents Dede’s immune system from containing the growths. In time he lost his job, his wife, and was eventually unable to perform daily tasks, the Telegraph reported.
But now, an American dermatologist who tested samples of Dede’s blood believes he has identified the cause of the growths, called “cutaneous horns,” and has proposed a treatment that could save the fisherman’s life.
Dr. Anthony Gaspari of the University of Maryland says that Dede’s condition is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a fairly common infection that usually causes small warts to develop on sufferers. But Dede has an extreme case of HPV.
"The likelihood of having his deficiency is less than one in a million," Dr Gaspari told the Telegraph. Gaspari believes Dede’s ailment can be cleared up with a daily dose of a synthetic form of Vitamin A.
"He won't have a perfectly normal body but the warts should reduce in size to the point where he could use his hands," Dr Gaspari told the Telegraph.