It ballooned out of control.
A Cambodian man was left with a leg five times normal size after suffering now-infected mosquito bites more than 20 years ago.
The condition has nearly prevented the 27-year-old man, Bong Thet, from walking and forced him to drag the swollen limb along the ground of his home in the Kampong Chhnang Province, Viral Press reported.
The debilitating ailment reportedly began after a growth sprouted from scratches on Bong’s foot when he was 6 years old. His parents ignored the signs, thinking he had gotten the cuts from playing outside.
By the time Bong was 12, the lumps had completely enveloped his foot. Unfortunately, the boy’s factory-worker parents couldn’t afford treatment, causing the condition to snowball to the point that he had to quit school because walking became nearly impossible.
On the rare occasions when Bong would go, his classmates teased him about his swollen limb.
He also couldn’t kick a ball properly due to his leg’s condition, which dashed his lifelong dream of becoming a professional soccer player.
The unfortunate soul suffered for more than two decades without treatment, before word of his malady reached some good Samaritans. A kind-hearted couple shelled out about $2,500 to cover Bong’s first-ever hospital visit earlier this month.
Doctors diagnosed him with lymphatic filariasis, which is a rare parasitic disease caused by microscopic worms that enter the body through mosquito bites. They suspect he contracted the worms through mosquito bites that he scratched at when he was young.
Unfortunately, elephantiasis — hardening and thickening of the skin that’s a side effect of lymphatic filariasis, one of the world’s leading causes of disability — is incurable, although Bong has been prescribed medication to help him manage his condition better.
Bong, for one, remains grateful to his benefactors over their selfless deed. “This will make my life easier and knowing that there are people who care for me makes me feel happy,” he said.
Despite the fact that no vaccine currently exists for lymphatic filariasis, doctors have been able to mitigate complications through surgery in the past. In 2018, a bed-ridden Indian patient was able to take his first steps after surgeons removed a 30-pound growth from his leg.
Meanwhile, the eighth season of the Discovery series “River Monsters” showcased a miraculous procedure where doctors drained a Brazilian man’s leg like an orange until it shrank to pre-disease proportions.