Doctors treat infant with contaminated water syndrome

New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) Doctors in a hospital here have successfully treated a 23-day-old infant diagnosed with an unusual case of blue baby syndrome caused by contaminated water.

The baby was referred to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital with a possible diagnosis of a hole in the heart from Gautam Budh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh last month.

“The baby had turned blue. We tested methemoglobin level and found it to be 67 percent against a normal of less than one percent,” said Sastish Saluja, vice chairperson in the department of neonatology.

Haemoglobin in human body when mixed by chemicals and pollutants results in methemoglobin. It changes the colour of the blood from red to blue, leading to poor oxygen supply to the tissues.

“The baby was diagnosed with blue baby syndrome. We don’t frequently get such cases. If the level of methemoglobin is more than 80 percent, then the chances of survival is very slim,” he said.

“The baby was given medication to reverse the effect of methemoglobin and within 12 hours the colour of the baby changed from blue to normal. He was discharged after some time,” he said.

Doctors wondered what pollutants could have caused this problem.

“It was found that the mother was not able to breast feed the baby. Therefore, she started giving her packaged formula milk mixing it with the underground boring water,” said Pankaj Garg, senior consultant in the same department.

“The baby’s blood sample was sent for testing.It was found the boring water used by the family was found to have high level of nitrate levels, which led to this problem,” said Garg.

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