Indian doctors save 25-day-old baby from rare flesh-eating infection

Indian doctors save 25-day-old baby from rare flesh-eating infection

The baby was discharged 10 days after the surgery.

By Staff Report

Published: Mon 11 Feb 2019, 8:16 AM

Last updated: Mon 11 Feb 2019, 10:20 AM

A newborn baby infected by a superbug was miraculously saved by the timely intervention of doctors in Bengaluru.
Born in the Indian town of Jharkhand, Rekha (name changed), was suffering from a rare life-threatening infection of the skin called Necrotising Fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating disease, with a high mortality rate. 
Within five days of her birth, Rekha was noticed to have pus-filled vesicles on the skin over the right chest wall. Although she was administered with injectable antibiotics at a hospital in Jharkhand, the child's condition continued to worsen with superficial infection eating away her skin and muscles underneath. 
The infection spilt into her bloodstream causing high-grade fever, poor feeding and respiratory distress, making her vulnerable to death and leaving the parents helpless.  A close family friend reached out to the pediatric team of Aster CMI in Bengaluru to see if the doctors could help the child. He even agreed to foot the bill of family's travel as the child's family lacked financial resources.   
The case involved necrotising fasciitis of the right anterolateral chest wall following neonatal pustulosis, a group of disorders characterised by various forms of highly inflammatory skin condition resulting in large fluid-filled blister. The child had an innocuous-looking superficial skin infection manifesting as small pus-filled boils which then eroded into the skin and underlying fascia and muscle to cause local destruction of tissues.
The bug is commonly known as MRSA - Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus is a very potent bacteria which can cause life-threatening infections. The child was managed with appropriate antibiotics, wound debridement with vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) and skin grafting.   
Dr Sudheer K A, Consultant Neonatologist, Aster CMI Bangalore, said, "After the initial assessment, we realised that the child was in a complicated condition. She was severely septic and the chest was being rapidly eaten away leaving a gaping defect over the skin which would definitely leave a scar. We had to quickly address three issues - control bloodstream infection, debride and remove dead skin and flesh thereby controlling the source, and optimise wound care so that the baby girl did not have a gaping defect and scar over her chest wall."  
The child was given appropriate antibiotics after culture reports revealed presence of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus (MRSA) - a superbug which can cause life-threatening infections. 
After 14 days of IV antibiotics and negative pressure treatment, the baby was taken up for split skin grafting on the 26th day of her life. She was monitored in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for 24 hours post operatively and was then shifted to her mother's side.  

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