An Indonesian fisherman named Dede who feared that he would be killed by tree-like growths covering his body has been given hope of recovery by an American doctor - and Vitamin A.
The welts spread across his body unchecked and soon he was left unable to carry out everyday household tasks.
Sacked from his job and deserted by his wife, Dede has been raising his two children - now in their late teens - in poverty, resigned to the fact that local doctors had no cure for his condition.
To make ends meet he even joined a local “freak show”, parading in front of a paying audience alongside victims of other peculiar diseases.
Although supported by his extended family, he was often a target of abuse and ridicule in his rural fishing village.
But now an American dermatology expert who flew out to Dede’s home village south of the capital Jakarta claims to have identified his condition, and proposed a treatment that could transform his life.
After testing samples of the lesions and Dede’s blood, Dr Anthony Gaspari of the University of Maryland concluded that his affliction is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a fairly common infection that usually causes small warts to develop on sufferers.