An Indonesian villager referred to as "Tree Man" for massive bark-like warts growing on much of his body may be barred from traveling to the United States to receive treatment for the debilitating disease, according to a report Tuesday from French news agency AFP.
Woody growths entirely cover the hands of a 32-year-old man who goes by the name Dede and appeared in a Discovery Channel documentary this month. An Indonesian official said the man would not be cleared to travel to the U.S. for treatment.
"We're clear about not giving (U.S. doctors) permission to bring Dede to the U.S.," health ministry spokeswoman Lily Sriwahyuni Sulistiyowati was quoted as saying by Warta Kota daily.
"Moreover, people like Dede, who live in small villages, don't want to be taken away, especially to give blood samples. Normally village people don't easily give foreigners permission to test their blood," she said.
Anthony Gaspari, a dermatologist from the University of Maryland, examined Dede as part of the Discovery Channel documentary. He called the health ministry's decision to bar Dede from traveling to the U.S. disappointing, but said it would not interfere with treatment of the massive growths believed to be a combination of the human papilloma virus and a genetic disorder.
Gaspari said he is in negotiations with a U.S. pharmaceutical company to provide Dede with an ongoing supply of vitamin A, which may boost his immune system and hinder the growth of the warts.