Thursday, 22 Oct 2020

Infected mosquito bite leaves man with a leg five times normal size

Infected mosquito bite leaves man with a leg five times its normal size – and the condition is untreatable

  • Bong Thet, 27, is forced to drag his swollen limb on the ground when he moves
  • He once dreamed of becoming a footballer, but his dream ended at the age of six
  • On hearing of his condition, a businesswoman gave him money for treatment
  • But doctors told Bong that the condition – Lymphatic filariasis – is untreatable
  • Despite the news, Bong says he is thankful to know what the condition is

Infected mosquito bites from more than two decades ago left a Cambodian man’s leg five times its normal size due to an untreatable parasitic disease.

Bong Thet, 27, is forced to drag the painful limb along the ground as he shuffles around his family home in Kampong Chhnang province.

He once dreamed of being a footballer but has not been able to kick a ball properly since the illness started when he was just six-years-old.


Bong Thet, 27, was bitten by mosquitoes when he was younger, causing his leg to swell five times its normal size. He once dreamed of being a footballer, but his condition means he hasn’t been able to kick a ball for more than two decades

Bong said the tumour developed from small wounds on his foot, which his parents ignored because they thought the scratches were from playing outside.

However, small lumps grew around his foot and completely covered his leg by the time he reached 12-years-old.

His parents, who were working in a nearby factory, were unable to afford the medical treatment in the poverty-stricken country so his condition worsened over the years.

According to the CDC, Lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic disease caused by microscopic thread-like worms.

The adult worms only live in the human lymph system, which maintains the body’s fluid balance and fights off infections. 

Mosquitoes carry the disease, spreading it from person to person.

People with the disease can suffer from lymphedema (the swelling of limbs) and elephantiasis, and in men it can also cause the swelling of the scrotum, called hydrocele.

Lymphatic filariasis is the world’s leading cause of permanent disability, and communities often shun those afflicted by the disease. 

The resulting disabilities can make working and every-day tasks very challenging for those afflicted with the disease. 

In 2015 about 38.5 million people were infected, and is most common in tropical Africa and Asia. 

He had to stop going to school because it was difficult for him to walk long distances. Even when he did bravely attend, the other children were constantly teasing him about his leg.

The sick man endured his illness for more than two decade without seeing specialists, until good Samaritans heard of his story and offered to pay for his treatment earlier this month.

Businesswoman Dana Try gave 10,000,000 Cambodia Riel (around £1,900). The cash paid for Bong’s medical expenses and was able to visit a hospital for the first time.

After conducting a blood check up, the doctors found that he has Lymphatic filariasis, a parasitic disease caused by thread-like worms.

They said it is possible that he contracted the parasites through mosquito bites which he scratched and bled when he was young, thus the wounds.

It is one of the leading causes of disability in the world, but there is no known vaccine or cure for the disease yet.

Bong was disheartened when he learned that the disease was incurable, but he was still thankful to people who gave him donations.

‘This will make my life easier and knowing that there are people who care for me makes me feel happy,’ he said. ‘I am so grateful for them to helping. The money will pay for medicine and food.

‘I will continue to take the medication given to me by the doctors which will make my life more comfortable.’

Despite learning that there is no cure for the disease, Bong said he was thankful for the diagnosis, and was grateful that there were people out there helping him. Pictured: Businesswoman Dana Try gives Bong’s family 10,000,000 Cambodia Riel (£1,900)

The parasitic disease is caused by thread-like worms, and is one of the leading causes of disability in the world, but there is no known vaccine or cure for the disease yet

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