Girl from Mauritius is being treated for a rare autoimmune disease in Bengaluru
BENGALURU: Thirteen-year-old Wafah Bholah from Mauritius suffered
from a series of medical problems right from the age of two. Wafah,
who spent most of her time in hospitals, suffered from skin disorders,
malfunctioning and lupus, an autoimmune disorder that causes
inflammation of various body organs.
While no medication worked for her in her country, she was brought to Bengaluru’s Aster CMI Hospital in December 2018. Here Wafah was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called C1q deficiency, an autosomal immune disorder. In the last three months, Wafah’s life changed as she underwent a bone marrow transplant (BMT), the only solution for her disorder.
C1q is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterised by recurrent skin lesions and chronic infections coupled with increased risk of autoimmune diseases. “Worldwide there are eight such cases of C1q deficiency treated with bone marrow transplants. before operating on her, we got in touch with doctors who have treated such cases,” said Dr Sagar Bhattad, consultant, pediatric immunology and rheumatology, Aster CMI Hospital.
“Lupus can affect a person after the age of 20 and not during childhood. When she was brought here, Wafah was wheelchair-bound and was at a very high risk of permanent renal failure as her kidneys were inflamated. She had difficulty walking and suffered from stiff lower limbs. Now, post-surgery, her skin condition is better and her kidney functioning is normal. She should be able to walk in sometime,” said Dr Bhattad.
Luckily, in Wafah’s case, her father Bhola Abdul turned out to be a matching donor. The girl started taking preparatory treatment from December 28 and underwent bone marrow transplant on January 12. “I donated my stem cells to my daughter. I’m doing fine after donation and my daughter is also recovering. Due to her health condition, she couldn’t go to school after the age of six. We hope she is able to lead a normal life in future,” said Abdul, a shoemaker living in a south Mauritius village.
While the procedure cost Rs 26.5 lakh, over Rs 10 lakh was generated by the hospital through a crowd-funding platform.
Dr Stalin Ramprakash, lead pediatric BMT expert, who operated on Wafah said transplants in children with severe autoimmune diseases and immune deficiencies are much more complex than transplants for other conditions like thalassemia or leukemia. There is high risk of serious infections and internal organ damage, making the treatment even more challenging,” said Dr Stalin.
The medical team which treated Wafah will be writing about her case to international medical journals. “We will be writing to them shortly and are waiting for her to stabilize further,” said Dr Stalin.