A 20-year-old South African woman has given birth to a baby with an extremely rare genetic condition called progeria – a progressive genetic disorder that causes children to age rapidly, starting in their first two years of life.
Progeria, also known as Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) caused by mutations that weaken the structure of the cell nucleus, making normal cell division difficult.
Patients born with progeria typically live to an age of mid-teens to early twenties.
The baby girl’s condition has left the family of the young mother as well as community members in shock.
The child was born at home two months ago but is currently in the hospital with her mother, SABC News reports.
Local mid-wives including her grandmother noticed that the newborn girl exhibited signs that were different from most babies as her hands are deformed and her skin was wrinkled like an aging person.
Speaking about the state of the child, thr grandmother expressed;
“When she was in labour we called an ambulance but it took long to come. So she gave birth here at home. But the delivery got complicated and we hired a van to take her to hospital. We were told there that she’s disabled. I noticed during her birth that there was something strange with her. She did not cry and she was breathing through the ribs. I was shocked because that was strange. Now I hear that people are calling her names. That hurts a lot. If I had means, I would put all of them in jail.”
Since the birth, photos of the baby have been circulating on social media. Some users likened her to an ape, causing outrage and anger among those who sympathize with her.
Meanwhile, Director of children’s rights organisation, Khula Community Development Project, Petros Majola, believes communities need to be educated about this condition.