‘Harlequin’ baby born in Nagpur
In an extremely rare case, a baby girl with a severe congenital disorder and near-total missing external body skin, was born at a city hospital on Saturday.
In medical parlance, this condition is called Harlequin Ichthyosis.
A 23-year-old woman from Amravati gave birth to the girl at Lata Mangeshkar Medical College and Hospital.
While speaking to Hindustan Times, Dr Yash Banait, a child specialist at the hospital said the baby was born with a congenital disorder and that this kind of disorder occurs because of mutation in the genes.
The baby requires proper moisturization. Petroleum jelly and coconut oil serves good for this miniaturization. Nutritional rehabilitation has to be undertaken regularly, he said.
“Harlequin Ichthyosis is a very rare severe genetic skin disease that cause thickening of the stratum corneum of the epidermis. In such cases, the child’s whole body is encased in an ‘armour’ of thick white plates of skin separated with deep cracks. In addition, the eyes, ears, private parts and the appendages may be abnormally contracted,” said obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Avinash Banait.
The overall incidence of Harlequin Ichthyosis is 1 in 300,000 births, he said.
The doctors at the hospital will diagnose the congenital deformities on Monday. “There is no skin on the body, so skin grafting is not a possibility. But the baby hasn’t developed any breathing problems lest she would have required to be kept on ventilation,” said Dr Yash Banait.
The baby, born after a Caesarean section performed has now been kept under observation as constant care is required to moisturise and protect the skin.
“We will be undertaking a 2D Echo investigation to ascertain the cardiac deformities or anomalies, if any,” said Dr Yash Banait. The baby is not finding any difficulty in breathing and is now stable, he added.
He informed that in 1984, an infant with this disorder was born in Pakistan and the baby lived till 2008. No more information is available about that baby, Dr Yash Banait said. Another such birth was recorded in the USA in 1994. “There is no cure for this disorder. All the medical science can do is try to keep the baby alive,” Dr Yash Banait further said.