Doctors at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh Wednesday confirmed the diagnosis of neonatal tetanus in a seven-day-old infant from Haryana. The case comes months after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the country free of maternal and neonatal tetanus.
The boy was born at Madanpur Shahabad in Kurukshetra on December 2 and was diagnosed with the infection five days later. He is critical. His father works as a daily wage earner.
Kurukshetra District Immunisation Officer Dr Anupama Singh said the likely cause of infection was “unhygienic practices” adopted by the family at the child’s birth. “During the delivery, the (baby’s) grandmother put some burnt cow-dung on the mother’s stomach. The mother also said the (baby’s) grandmother had cut the umbilical cord with a blade bought from the market,” Dr Singh said.
The family had brought the infant to the Lok Nayak Jay Parkash Hospital in Kurukshetra after he refused to drink milk. “We were asked to go to PGI immediately. Doctors told me that my child has a disease,” Angad said.
According to Haryana health officials, the child was admitted after there were complaints of seizures and stiffness of boy. “We provided the basic treatment and referred him to PGI. I have seen such a case after a long time,” said Dr Anupama Singh.
Officials said the neonatal tetanus case was the first such in many years.