The baby of a young South African woman who made headlines because she was born looking older than her mum has died.
Anesipho was born suffering from a rare genetic condition known as progeria, or Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome, which causes its sufferers to age faster than usual.
Ongeziwe Mtshobi, 20, a South African woman, gave birth Anesipho at her home in the small town of Libode in the province of Eastern Cape on 26th June and local media announced her death on Wednesday, 22nd September.
After the baby girl was born with deformed hands and wrinkled skin, she and her mother were taken to the hospital where she was diagnosed with progeria.
Snaps of the newborn were posted online and went viral with some netizens commenting that she looked like “an old woman”, or even “an ape”, to the chagrin of her family and other netizens.
Ntombizakhe Mtshobi, Anesipho’s grandmother, told reporters just after the birth: “I noticed during her birth that there was something strange with her. She did not cry and she was breathing through her 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.”
She added: “We have become the laughing stock in the community, I have so many kids and I am not employed and now this happens.”
According to the National Organisation for Rare Disorders (NORD), “Children with progeria die of heart disease (atherosclerosis) at an average age of 14.5 years.”
The local news site Briefly reports that the doctors believe an infection may have resulted in the girl’s death although further blood tests will be carried out before this is confirmed.
Anesipho is expected to be buried by her family in Eastern Cape this Thursday, 30th September.
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Story By: Peter Barker, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
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