Sahana Khatun, who is 10 and from the rural north of the country, is being treated at a hospital in Dhaka after the gnarled growths began to appear on her chin, nose and ears.
Cases of epidermodysplasia verruciformis, a genetic condition commonly known as ‘tree man syndrome’, are extremely rare, with only five reported worldwide. So far, all have been in males.
Samanta Lal Sen, the head of the burn and plastic surgery unit at Dhaka’s Medical College Hospital, where tests are being carried out to confirm the case, said: “We believe she is the first woman.”
Another doctor said she may be suffering from a milder form of the disease and they hope she will make a quicker recovery than those with more advanced cases.
Sahana’s father first noticed the growths on his daughter’s face about four months ago and brought her to the country’s capital to seek treatment when they began to spread.
Mohammad Shahjahan said: “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 daughter’s face.”
A man with a far more serious case of the disease has undergone 16 surgical procedures at the same hospital to remove giant warts from his hands and legs.
Abul Bajandar was the first Bangladeshi to be diagnosed with ‘tree man syndrome’ and has been receiving treatment for the better part of a year.
Some of the growths removed from his hands have weighed as much as five kilogrammes.
His plight has captured national attention and prompted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to guarantee Bajandar’s treatment would be free.
Last month doctors announced that Bajandar touched his wife and daughter for the first time in a decade, and was almost ready to leave.