Bangladeshi girl could be first female with tree man syndrome

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10-year-old Sahana Khatun is in Dhaka for treatment of rare condition at hospital where young man suffering from disease received groundbreaking surgery

A young Bangladeshi girl with bark-like growths on her face could be the first female afflicted by tree man syndrome, doctors studying the rare genetic condition said on Tuesday. Sahana Khatun, 10, has growths on her chin, ear and nose, but doctors at Dhakas Medical College hospital are still conducting tests to establish if she has the unusual skin disorder.

Fewer than half a dozen people worldwide have epidermodysplasia verruciformis but none so far have been women, said Samanta Lal Sen, the head of the hospitals burn and plastic surgery unit. We believe she is the first woman, Sen said.

Her father, a poor labourer from Bangladeshs rural north, said he didnt worry too much when the first warts appeared on his daughters face about four months ago. But as the growths spread rapidly, he grew concerned and brought Khatun from their village to the capital for treatment.

We are very poor. My daughter lost her mother when she was only six. I really hope that the doctors will remove the barks from my beautiful daughters face, her father, Mohammad Shahjahan, said.

Another of Khatuns doctors said the young patient was displaying a milder form of the disease, and it was hoped she would make a quicker recovery than those in the more advanced stages. The hospital has been treating one man with a serious case of the disease for the better part of a year, conducting 16 surgical procedures to remove giant warts from his hands and legs.

Huge growths weighing 5kg each had consumed the hands of 27-year-old Abul Bajandar, the first recorded Bangladeshi to be suffering from the disease. His plight has captured national attention and the interest of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who promised the patient would receive treatment free of charge.

Doctors said in January that for the first time in a decade, Bajandar had been able to touch his wife and daughter, and was almost ready to leave the ward.

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