Rajawadi Civil Hospital is treating a newborn baby and his 10-year-old sister for the rare disease of monogenic obesity.
While the 13-month-old baby girl weighs 18 kg, her sister, who is now 10 years old, has undergone gastric bypass procedure twice to reduce her weight from 70 kg to 56 kg.
Both the children are being treated by Dr Prashant Patil, a pediatrician of Rajawadi Hospital.
The couple have two other daughters – aged six and three – who are free of the disease. He first lost a son when he was 18 months old, but the reason is not clear.
Monogenic obesity is caused by a mutation or deficiency of a single gene.
According to media, Dr. Patil said, “There are a little over 100 cases of monogenic obesity in the world. The girl child was undergoing treatment and now her brother has the same disease. We can say that this is the first family with the problem of monogenic obesity.”
The baby boy was first brought to Rajawadi Hospital in May, and has since been admitted thrice with symptoms like difficulty in breathing and pneumonia. He has not started walking yet because of his body weight.
Patil said a few years back the girl was diagnosed with monogenic obesity. She also has type 2 diabetes, which is one of the elements of her condition.
“When the boy was brought to Rajawadi Hospital with similar symptoms, we did a genetic evaluation of his parents and found that both of them had an affected gene,” Patil said.
Patil said that cetmelanotide, approved by the US FDA, is used for the treatment of this condition. It can only be given to children above the age of six years and the cost is very high, as it is not available in India. The family probably won’t be able to afford it.
The father told that he is a daily wage labourer. “My son has been gaining weight since he was four months old, and now doctors are treating him. He has recovered from chest tightness and is feeling better. My daughter is the only child in the family who goes to school,” he said, adding that he has not been able to go to work due to his child’s illness.