A man covered in hundreds of bubble-like tumors all over his body has been forced to live in a solitary life because people fear he might infect them.
Habib Ullah Khan, 56, from Karachi in Pakistan, has had his body ravaged by the small lumps.
He suffers from a severe case of neurofibramatosis, an incurable condition that causes non-cancerous lumps to grow along the nerves in the body and affects just one in 3,000 births.
He was just 10 when the benign lumps began sprouting on his chest, until it spread to his legs, arms, neck and even his face.
Mr Khan said it’s not the pain he faces each day from the bubble-like masses that affects him, but the cruel taunts from strangers.
He was not able to marry and he chose to live an isolated life after his own family disowned him.
“People have ridiculed me throughout my life,” he said.
“No one likes looking at me or being near to me. People think I will infect everything.
‘I go out only once or twice in a week and remain cautious that people in the neighborhood do not know about my medical condition.’
“Many landlords don’t want me living in their property or ask me to leave when people complaint about my condition. I’ve had to move many times.”
After his parents died two decades ago, Mr Khan left their family house and began living on his own.
With no support, he earns his living by begging on the streets. He lives in a single rented room and spends most of his time indoors.
He added: ‘It was very painful when my own brothers would ask their children to stay away from me. Then, one day I decided to leave the house and live on my own.
‘I thought it is better to beg on the streets rather to face this daily humiliation from my own family members.
‘Luckily, I don’t have too many tumors on my face which allows me to hide this condition from people.
Mr Khan had big dreams but was forced to quit studies at a young age because of the incurable condition.
“Even though I was a bright student, I couldn’t continue my studies after class 5th as no one in the school was talking to me or sharing desk with me,” he said.
“My parents took me to several doctors but they said there was no treatment available for this condition.
Mr Khan’s condition has left several doctors in Pakistan baffled.
Dr Iqbal Nabi Soomro, director at the Institute of Skin Disease, Karachi, believes Mr Khan is suffering neurofibromatosis, for which there is no known cure.
“It looks pretty obvious to me that he has a severe case of neurofibromatosis,” he said.
“There is no cure for this condition in the medical world.
“We can remove his tumours but as this disease is genetic there are chances the tumours will appear again.”
The severity of the condition can vary considerably from person to person, but sufferers are more likely to suffer from behavioural problems, vision difficulties and high blood pressure.
Despite the alarming appearance, the growths and swellings – called neurofibromas and caused by a growth of cells – are not cancerous or contagious.