The images are shocking. The reason for the images showing the inhabitants of Brazil’s Arara village who suffer from the rare hereditary disease known as pigmented dry skin.
This practically means they have excellent sensitivity to the ultraviolet rays of the sun and have terrible rates of skin cancer. Because of the disease, the skin is unable to correct the damage caused by the sun. And all this, in a village composed mainly of farmers. It is buried somewhere in the heart of Brazil, among tropical hills and its inhabitants give a daily battle with the sun. It is the village of Araras, considered to be the largest community of people suffering from the rare hereditary disease known as pigmented dry skin.
Those who suffer from it have an excellent sensitivity to the ultraviolet rays of the sun and show scary rates of skin cancer. Because of the disease, the skin is unable to correct the damage caused by the sun. And all this in a village consisting mainly of farmers.
“I was always exposed to the sun. I worked, planted and picked rice, I cared for the animals, “says 38-year-old Jalma Antonio Zardim in the Daily Mail. “As time went by, my situation was getting worse,” he says. Now, he can not work as a farmer. He showed the first symptoms of pigmented dry skin when he was nine, when small tumors began to appear on his face. So far he has undergone more than 50 interventions to get rid of them. Now he does not go anywhere without his huge hat, but that does not really help him.
The illness actually “eats” the skin on its lips, nose, cheeks, and even his eyes. In addition to skin destruction and cancer, however, one in five patients is at risk of hearing loss, delayed development or poor coordination of movements. Of the 800 people living in Arara, over 20 have been affected by the disease, with a rate of one in 40, while in the US the odds are 1 in 1 million.
For many years doctors could not understand what the villagers suffered. “Some were talking about a problem in the blood, others on the skin. No one told us it was a genetic disease, “Zardim says. According to experts, the village has so many patients because it was founded by a few families, with many of its members being the carriers of the disease, leading to the next generations as the villagers married each other.