Recently, India’s first baby with the Harlequin Ichthyosis is born in the city of Nagpur. Harlequin is a rare genetic condition in which a baby borns without any perceivable skin.
India’s first Harlequin baby is a baby girl who’s born to a farmer’s family and was born with a pre-term hardened skin which also had cracks. The baby weighed 1.2kgs at birth and surprisingly had no ears and is blind. In place of eyes, she has two bright red bulges in her eye orbit, two small holes in place of a nose and an inverted eyelid.
For now, more tests are being run on the baby to assure her proper medical condition in the Lata Mangeshkar Hospital, also the place where she is born.
Dr, Avinash Banait, a doctor from the team who performed the delivery had this to say:
“Harlequin ichthyosis is a very rare severe genetic skin disease. 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.”
“Such babies are prone to infection as their internal organs are exposed. We are keeping her skin moist by applying petroleum jelly. For now, we are not sure whether she even has eyeballs,” said Yash Banait, a paediatrician in the hospital.
Although such cases are usually detected during the fourth month of the pregnancy with the help of ultrasounds and then doctors only prescribe to terminate the fetus, the farmer’s family to whom the baby has born couldn’t afford the prenatal testing and even the mother of the baby is still not informed about this condition of the baby.
“The longest case of survival we know is of baby Shaheen who was born in 1984 in Pakistan. Her last medical records are from 2008. We are sure she survived at least till the age of 24. But normal skin never grows back in this condition,” Banait added.
This rare condition is only found in one out of 3 lakh babies and this baby who is born in Lata Mangeshkar Hospital is definitely India’s first Harlequin baby.