Thursday April 25, 2019

Battle for Life: India’s First Harlequin Baby dies after 48-hour struggle in Nagpur

Harlequin ichthyosis is a very rare disease, reported to occur once in every 3,00,000 thousand babies

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A doctor holds India's first Harlequin baby at a hospital in Nagpur, Maharashtra.Punjabupdate/Twitter
  • Newborn babies affected with harlequin ichthyosis are covered with plates of thick skin that crack and split apart
  • This rare condition occurs if both the parents carry recessive genes of Harlequin
  • The longest period of time anyone with this condition has survived is a girl from Pakistan, who passed away at the age of 24

NAGPUR: In an unfortunate incident in Amravati in the Vidharba region of Maharashtra, a Harlequin baby was born to a farmer’s couple on Saturday, June 11. The news has received wide publicity in several major dailies of India.

Harlequin ichthyosis is a very rare disease, reported to occur once in every 300,000 thousand babies. According to Hindustan Times, Dr. Avinash Banait, who delivered the baby, said: “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.”

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Infections can be easily caught as the external skin is never fully developed and internal organs are largely exposed to the outside atmosphere. Constant care is required to keep the baby’s body moisturized. In their case, the doctors used petroleum jelly to moisturize the baby’s skin.

Usually, doctors can identify this condition within four months of pregnancy through a 3-D ultrasound and advise the parents to terminate the fetus.

Harlequin
Harlequin fetus. Image source: Wikimedia comons

Newborn babies affected with harlequin ichthyosis are covered with plates of thick skin that crack and split apart.  The thick skin plates can pull at and distort the infant’s facial features. The tightness of the skin pulls around the eyes and mouth, forcing the eyelids and lips to turn inside out, revealing the red inner linings.

In the case of the farmer’s baby, there were no ears and only slits in place of eyes. It was covered in thick scales and weighed around 1.8kg at the time of birth, said the Nagpur Times report.

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This rare condition occurs if both the parents carry recessive genes of Harlequin. Recessive genes mean that the trait is carried by the parents, but not shown physically.

The mother was not allowed to see the baby until two days later. When presented with her child on the second day, in the presence of a psychologist, she reportedly broke down.

The baby passed away two days later on Monday, June 13, in the afternoon. It is the first recorded case of Harlequin ichthyosis in India. The longest period of time anyone with this condition has survived is a girl from Pakistan, who passed away at the age of 24.

-Adapted and prepared from various sources by NewsGram staff with assistance by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. 

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Doctors say, Harlequin affected babies should be aborted immediately as they have negligible chances of surviving. But as this baby was born in a farmer’s house, they couldn’t afford to get a check up done during pregnancy

  • Paras Vashisth

    This is an unknown disease.So for awareness,government should take some steps regarding this.

Next Story

Xiaomi Aims 10,000 Retail Stores in India by 2019

Including all the four retail channels, Xiaomi currently has a total of about 6,000 retail stores in the country

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The complaint alleged that Xiaomi had used the patents without any license from Yulong.
Xiaomi to fight patent disput against Coolpad, wikimedia commons

Making a big push for offline sales in India, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, which opened its 1,000th “Mi Store” in the country is on track to reach the target of having 10,000 retail stores by the end of this year, a top company official said on Wednesday.

Xiaomi India said it generated employment for over 2,000 people with the opening of 1,000 Mi Stores, which are spread across 19 states in the country.

“We have been the No. 1 smartphonebrand in India for nine consecutive quarters and our market share in online smartphone business in the country is over 50 per cent.

“The scope of growth in online market share is now limited. Therefore, we are focusing on expanding our offline presence in a big way,” Xiaomi India Managing Director Manu Kumar Jain told a select group of journalists here.

According to him, Xiaomi’s current market share in the offline smartphone business in India is 20 per cent.

“By the end of this year, we are hoping to have 50 per cent of our smartphone sales in the country from offline channels,” he added.

Xiaomi had primarily been an online brand since its inception and started its offline sales in India just two years ago.

Xiaomi
Xiaomi.

The company announced the opening of 500 Mi Stores in the country in November last year, saying that it was planning to open 5,000 such retail stores in the rural parts of the country by end of this year.

“Mi Stores” are similar to the bigger “Mi Home” stores currently operational in the metros and other big cities.

In addition to the 1,000th Mi Store launch, Xiaomi India also announced the launch of Mi Studios, the latest addition to its existing three retail channels.

Located currently in Bengalure and Mumbai, with an average size of 400-600 sq.ft, the new Mi Studios are an optimised version of Mi Homes, Xiaomi said, adding that it was working towards opening 200 Mi Studios by the end of this year.

Xiaomi, which surpassed Samsung to become the market leader in 2018 with 28.9 per cent share in the Indian smartphone market, also has over 5,000 Mi Preferred Partner (third-party) stores spread across over 50 cities.

Also Read- Indians Spending Over 10 Hours on Their Devices Daily, Adobe Survey Reveals

“We are learning from other other brands such as Samsung and Vivo in expanding our offline presence in the country,” Jain added.

Including all the four retail channels, Xiaomi currently has a total of about 6,000 retail stores in the country. (IANS)