Diseases you REALLY don’t want, part 1
December 27, 2010
So, I’ve had the flu for the last 4 days and pretty much stayed in bed the whole time. I just had “plain ol’ flu” as opposed to the more headline grabbing swine, avian, equine, canine, Spanish, Hong Kong, Russian, and Australian varieties. As usual, I suffered through my illness with
out a single complaint incessant grumbling, infantile whining, and interminable grouchiness worthy of HRH Oscar T. Grouch.
Since I’m mostly better now, I am beginning to feel kind of stupid for being a such a whiny-baby, and am just glad that the flu eventually goes away (unless it doesn’t and you die), but, mostly I’m just glad that I don’t have some bizarre disease like the unlucky bastards further down in the article.
Everybody’s heard about AIDS/HIV, Malaria, Cholera, Ebola, and Anthrax, and yes, those DO suck, but I’m not writing about those media whores. This post, and those to follow, are about truly bizarre stuff that you’ve probably never heard of. Some of it is horrific, some is just strange, but I can guarantee you that you don’t want to be afflicted with ANY of the weirdness in this series.
The focus of this series is obscure communicable diseases, infectious abnormalities, and medical mysteries. I’m not going to discuss much in the way of depressing genetic mutations or terrible genetic disorders like Progeria or the truly horrific Harlequin Ichthyosis (which I won’t even link to), or even un-disturbing genetic weirdness like that werewolf family from Mexico, though I WILL throw a few really crappy allergies into the mix. I’m also not going to spend much time on psychological illnesses since I could probably dedicate an entire blog to that topic, but again, I’ll throw a couple of intriguing examples out there.
Once again: Graphic images below.
Part 1: Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis
AKA Lewandowsky-Lutz dysplasia, this rare skin disorder, resulting from a combination of genetic immunodeficiency and uncontrolled infections on the skin from a strain of the the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), causes large, crippling, wart-like growths to appear on the hands and feet. Obviously, these ladies have had surgery to remove said growths.
Ok, actually, that is an ad for Gardisil which, along with being prescribed to prevent cervical cancer (and possibly causing sterility), is now also being prescribed to prevent genital and anal warts caused by sexually transmitted HPV. Yay, mental image! As if anal warts weren’t bad enough, an HPV infection GREATLY increases your risk of developing cancers of the vulva, anus, and penis. Whoa, Nellie!
Even though Human Papillomavirus is a pretty nasty little bugger all by itself, it’s still got nothing on it’s asshole cousin, Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis. With good old vanilla HPV, you might get warts on your hoo-ha or wind up with dong cancer, but at least you don’t look like you’re turning into a freakin’ tree!
This is Dede Koswara, an Indonesian man with a rather extreme case of Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis. Since November 2007, when a video of him appeared on the internet, he has become the poster boy for the disease. Most of the international news agencies picked up the story and ran with it. He has since been interviewed many times and has appeared in television specials on The Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel.
Dede has recently undergone a 9 month treatment which removed around 4 lbs of the root-like growths. It’s not a cure, but at least he can feel human again by doing what the rest of us take for granted. He can now feed himself, write, and even use a cell phone.
Though Dede’s case is extreme, that doesn’t mean that that a less severe case of Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis is any kind of walk in the park. Just like in Dede’s case, in less severe cases, the virus, unchecked by the immune system, causes the overproduction of keratin by skin cells, resulting in lesions resembling warts or…wait for it… HORNS!
That’s right, horns. Cutaneous horns, but horns nonetheless. What’s a cutaneous horn? Well…I’m glad you asked. Here’s an example.
Basically, cutaneous horns are are unusual keratinous skin tumors with the appearance of horns, or sometimes of wood or coral. Unlike animal horns, these horns are not attached at the skull or to any other bone. So, not only are they cosmetically hideous, but they are also useless as an aid to self defense. Which is good news really. I can just envision some Wrestle-mania loving redneck going out looking to catch him some genital warts with the hopes of growing an awesome ram horn in the middle of his forehead.
Don’t feel too bad for these last two. Cutaneous horns are made from the same material as fingernails. Meaning: They can trim those antlers if they really want to. The Ram lady apparently liked hers. She let it grow there for 20 years before deciding to get it cut off.
As promised, here’s some adorable animal baby cuteness to return your mind to a better place.
Be sure to check out part two of the series…once I get around to writing it. Check back often or subscribe up top in the sidebar to be updated by email.