India’s first reported Harlequin baby died at Lata Mangeshkar Hospital in Nagpur. She was born without an external layer of skin. The baby girl, weighing 1.8 kg, had a congenital disorder named Harlequin Ichthyosis, in which the baby’s skin is covered with hardened, cracked skin and her internal organs were visible. The condition is very rare and has a prevalence of one in 300,000 births.
Dr. Avinash Banait of Lata Mangeshkar Medical College told Mens XP, “Harlequin ichthyosis is a very rare severe genetic skin disease. In such cases, the child’s whole body is encased in an ‘armor’ of thick white plates of skin, separated with deep cracks. In addition, the eyes, ears, private parts and the appendages may be abnormally contracted.”
In medical parlance, this condition is called Harlequin Ichthyosis, and was recorded in India for the first time.
The disease could not be identified as the family, hailing from a poor farming background, were not able to bring the mother regularly for check-ups. “Even otherwise skin disorders, especially Harlequin Ichthyosis, cannot be picked up on conventional ultrasonography,” Dr Mitra said while speaking to Hindustan Times.
The baby was not shown to the mother till Sunday and she broke down when she saw her child on Monday afternoon in the presence of a group of doctors. On social media, it turned into a point of conversation, with people expressing sympathy towards the newborn and her parents.
The child was kept in the ICU to protect her from any infection. But, on Monday morning, she developed respiratory problem and was provided oxygen. The child suffered from a very rare genetic skin disease that occurs in one out of 300,000 newborn babies. At birth, the baby’s whole body gets covered with thick white plates of skin that develops cracks. Also, other body parts like eyes, mouth, ears, fingers may get contracted. These cracks often contracts infections.