Rare birth defects worry S. Africa health officials

June 25, 2012

Health officials in South Africa's Eastern Cape region Monday voiced concern at the increased number of children born with rare deformities.

"There have been 50 cases of rare deformities in the past two years and five conjoined twins in less than 18 months," provincial health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo told AFP.

The latest registered last week was that of a baby girl born to a 16-year-old, with what looked liked a small penis on the forehead.

"She was born with no nose, and where there are supposed to be eyes there was nothing, just skin covered over the area," Kupelo said.

In April one baby was born with the brain exposed, only covered by a thin layer of skin.

Last year another baby was born with a heart exposed while a pair of conjoined twins shared a heart and liver.

According to Kupelo, all the children die within weeks.

"There is a local pediatrician who has shown interest in studying the possible causes," he said.

Most of the cases are treated at Nelson Mandela in Mthatha. Some are transferred to other hospitals outside the region with advanced facilities.

What has puzzled was the fact that the majority of the cases come from the Transkei region, one of the most impoverished and underdeveloped areas in the country, said Kupelo.

" are doing all they can to save them, but they just don't survive," he said.

Explore further: Spanish hospital successfully separates conjoined twins

Related Stories

Spanish hospital successfully separates conjoined twins

March 19, 2012
A Barcelona hospital said Monday it had successfully separated a pair of seven-month-old conjoined twins who shared a liver.

Pakistan doctors fight to save life of baby with six legs

April 16, 2012
Doctors in Pakistan are fighting to save the life of a baby boy born with six legs because of a rare genetic condition, hospital officials said Monday.

Conjoined twins die in Madagascar after operation

March 23, 2012
A pair of six-month-old conjoined twins who were connected at the stomach, sternum and liver have died in Madagascar two days after a marathon surgery to separate them, their doctor said Friday.

Recommended for you

Study shows probiotics can prevent sepsis in infants

August 17, 2017
A research team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health has determined that a special mixture of good bacteria in the body reduced the incidence of sepsis in infants in India by 40 percent at ...

Children who sleep an hour less at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, says study

August 15, 2017
A study has found that children who slept on average one hour less a night had higher risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including higher levels of blood glucose and insulin resistance.

Low blood sugars in newborns linked to later difficulties

August 8, 2017
A newborn condition affecting one in six babies has been linked to impairment in some high-level brain functions that shows up by age 4.5 years.

Can breast milk feed a love of vegetables?

August 4, 2017
(HealthDay)—Want your preschooler to eat veggies without a fuss? Try eating veggies while you're breast-feeding.

Small drop in measles vaccinations would have outsized effect, study estimates

July 24, 2017
Small reductions in childhood measles vaccinations in the United States would produce disproportionately large increases in the number of measles cases and in related public health costs, according to a new study by researchers ...

At the cellular level, a child's loss of a father is associated with increased stress

July 18, 2017
The absence of a father—due to incarceration, death, separation or divorce—has adverse physical and behavioral consequences for a growing child. But little is known about the biological processes that underlie this link ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.