Sakchhyam Adhikari was administered the measles vaccine on December 11, 2008, at his school, Bibhuti Vidya Mandir, in Chandragadhi, Jhapa district. The same day the first grader, who was then in upper KG, started vomiting and developed rashes.
“My mother-in-law could not understand the severity of the case and so did not take him to hospital. He turned seriously ill after a week and we took him to Mechi Zonal Hospital at Bhadrapur,” says the boy´s mother Ramala, an assistant nurse midwife at the Anarmani Health Post.
Sakchhyam was given his first dose of measles vaccine when he was 10 months and he had shown no adverse reaction, his mother recalls. But after the booster dose his eyes, nostrils, lips and the anal and genital regions became swollen and he secreted massive amounts of mucus for about three weeks.
The zonal hospital diagnosed the disease as Steven Johnson´s Syndrome (SJS) and referred the case to BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan, which confirmed the disease and called it vaccine-induced.
SJS is said to be very rare, with one case per million, and the majority of them are believed to be idiopathic (arising spontaneously).
The swelling of the genital and anal areas has decreased significantly but Sakchhyam´s lips and nostrils are still swollen. And more alarmingly, his eyesight is getting weaker by the day. The prognosis by Dr Rita Gurung at Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology a couple of days ago has come as a devastating blow to the Adhikari family.
Source: Republica, 10th July 2009, written by Prem Dhakal.