Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) is a very rare genetic condition in which the skin and internal body linings blister at the slightest knock or rub, causing painful, open wounds.
The condition has a number of distinct forms. At its mildest, the blistering is confined to the hands and feet making holding things and walking extremely painful. In more severe forms all the body is affected and the wounds heal very slowly, giving rise to scarring, physical deformity and significant disability.
For many affected by the condition, the blistering is not limited to the skin but also affects the inner body linings such as the mouth and oesophagus. The eating of solids is, in these cases, almost impossible, and the disposal of the body waste incredibly painful. When this condition applies, malnutrition is often a consequence, further reducing the body’s resistance to infection.
People with the more severe types of EB also have an exceptionally high risk of developing skin cancers, shortening their lives by approximately 30-40 years. In its most severe form, the condition is fatal in infancy.