In a first-of-its-kind incident, a baby girl was born in India on Saturday, with Harlequin Ichtyosis, a rare genetic mutation that causes a baby to be born without any perceivable skin, Nagpur Today reported.
The baby, born to a farmer's family in Nagpur, Maharashtra, is India's first 'Harlequin Baby', a name given to babies born with this rare genetic disorder.
The baby was born pre-term with a hardened skin. The hard surface covering her body has cracks and she weighed 1.2 kg at birth. She has no ears, is completely blind though she has two bright red bulges in place of eyes, has just two small holes for a nose and an inverted eye lid.
More tests are being run on the baby to ascertain her medical condition.
The baby, born in Lata Mangeshkar Hospital, is one of 3 lakh babies that get affected by this rare condition, and is definitely India's first.
Dr Avinash Banait, a member of the team of doctors that performed the delivery, said,
"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 eye balls,” Yash Banait, paediatrician, told The Indian Express.
Such cases are usually detected during the fourth month of pregnancy and through monthly ultrasounds. Doctors usually prescribe a termination of the fetus in such cases.
But this baby has been born into a farmer's family that is below the poverty line and they could not afford pre-natal testing. The mother has not yet been informed of the baby's condition.
“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 said.
(Feature Image Source: Twitter/@catchnews)