'Fish Boy' Disease: Ichthyosis Covers Pan Xianhang In Dry, Itchy Scales [VIDEO]

By Staff Writer on July 30, 2013 5:26 PM EDT

"Fish Boy" Pan Xianhang
"Fish Boy" Pan Xianhang has thick, dry scales all over his body. There is no cure for the rare genetic skin disease known as Ichthyosis. (Photo: YouTube/MyShockingStory)

Pan Xianhang of Wenling, China, is called "fish boy" by his neighbors, a terrible nickname coined after Pan's bizarre skin condition that cause thick, itchy scales to cover his entire body. Eight-year-old Pan Xianhang lives his life in constant pain, often enduring overheating and extreme itching. In fact, the disease is so unbearable that Pan can barely fall asleep at night.

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Pan Xianhang suffers from a rare genetic skin disease known as Ichthyosis, named after the ancient Greek word for fish. Sufferers of Ichthyosis develop extremely dry skales all over the body. However, Pan's condition is especially severe as dry scales have formed around his eyes, nose, mouth and ears as well. What's more, Imagine China reports that the amount of scales on Pan's body have made it difficult for him to move his arms and legs.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure or treatment for sufferers of Ichthyosis. UK-based Ichthyosis Support Group spokesperson Liz Dale explains that sufferers can only use skin moisturizers to prevent sking from further drying. The dry skin also causes Ichthyosis suffers to be at higher risk of fatal infection.

Despite the challenges, all Pan Xianhang asks is for a normal life. According to Argentina paper El Periodico, Pan wishes to attend school without suffering.

Each year, more than 16,000 babies are diagnosed with Ichthyosis disease. Last year, a documentary titled "The Boy They Call Fish" followed 18-year-old Vietnamese orphan Minh Anh, who is not only suffering from severe Ichthyosis, but is mentally handicapped as well. Minh is currently being cared for at a special ward in a Saigon hospital.

To learn more about Ichthyosis, watch the video about Minh Anh below:

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