A couple rushed to three hospitals in six hours after their first son was born with a rare condition which makes his skin look like plastic.
The newborn boy was taken to a hospital 100 miles from his home village in the north of India when doctors realised he needed urgent medical attention.
The baby, who has not yet been named, suffers from Lamellar ichthyosis which means he has tight, waxy, plastic-like skin.
Parents Anita Devi, 23, and Alakhram Yadav, 25, rushed their baby to a doctor just a couple of hours after delivering him at home when they realised his skin looked abnormal and he was struggling to breathe.
They were eventually sent to a private hospital in Lucknow, about 300 miles south-east of New Delhi, where doctors treated the baby for free.
The family are from a village called Binhoni Kalan in Balrampur, a district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, near the border with Nepal.
Devi gave birth to the couple’s first child last Thursday, May 24, in a normal delivery at home, but they soon realised something was wrong.
They were finally referred to a private hospital in Lucknow, over 100 miles from their home, where doctors admitted him and offered free treatment.
There he was diagnosed with a condition called collodion membrane, in which babies are born with tight, waxy and shiny skin resembling plastic wrap.
Rare condition affecting one in 600,000 people
The condition, according to doctors, is caused by a rare inherited genetic disorder called lamellar ichthyosis that affects one in 600,000 people.
Babies born with the permanent condition may have a tight, plastic-looking membrane on their skin, which will then peel off.
In later life lamellar ichthyosis is associated with excessive skin shedding, and it is usually inherited from parents who do not have the condition but carry the gene.
It is not a contagious condition but there is no cure, and complications can include hair loss, difficulty bending fingers, overheating, tight skin cutting off circulation, and eye problems.
Dr Shishir Agarwal, Neonatologist and child specialist at Mahesh Children’s Poly Clinic in Lucknow said, “Babies born with the rare condition called ‘lamellar ichthyosis’ are very prone to infection, which can be life threating as well. The babies have a very low immunity power. So, we have to handle them very carefully. This baby was kept on the ventilator as he had breathing problems.”
Dr Shishir further added, “The baby was born on May 24, and on Wednesday (May 30), the baby has shown some improvement. Today, we have removed the ventilator as well. The condition is very rare, so I am going to do further study on these babies.”
Dr Apratim Goel, Dermatologist, and Laser surgeon while speaking to My Medical Mantra said, “The ‘lamellar ichthyosis’ condition is a genetic condition, which is also called Collodion Baby. Over the next 2-3 weeks, the shiny and the waxy skin of the baby will look like a normal skin. But, need a life-long management. The condition affects 1 in 6,00,000 childbirths.”
Dr Apratim further added, “Lamellar ichthyosis can affect the full body of a particular part as well. We need to regulate the temperature of the baby, we cannot open the hands and feet easily. Due to the skin under the eyes, the eyes become dry.”
Dr Shakira Savaskar, Head of the paediatrics department, Dr Vaishampaiyan Memorial Government Medical College, Solapur said, “Lamellar ichthyosis is a very rare genetic disorder, also known as Collodion baby. They can live a normal life.”
She added, “Keeping in mind the severe form of this condition, a team work of skin specialist, paediatricians and psychiatrist is required. Issues faced by such children are repeated skin infection and social problems because of the disfigurement.”
What is lamellar ichthyosis?
- Lamellar ichthyosis is a very rare skin condition that is characterised by abnormal scaling and shedding of the skin.
- Sufferers tend to have plate-like scales of skin which often appear brownish in colour.
- The condition is caused by genetic abnormalities that affect the shedding of skin.
- It occurs when both of a person’s parents carry the abnormal gene – in this situation, there is a one in four chance of the person developing the condition.
- Lamellar ichthyosis can also cause overheating as it prevents sweating, and can constrict the blood flow to the fingers and toes as it causes the skin tighten.
- It can also cause eye problems, hair loss, and difficulty bending the hand joints.
- There is currently no cure and the key treatment is regularly applying moisturiser.
Source: Daily Mail