17/02/2012 12:23 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Five Children From Same Street Diagnosed With Same Rare Condition That Affects Just One In 10,000 Births

Five children from same street diagnosed with same rare condition that affects just one in 10,000 births Getty

Five children in the same quiet street are at the centre of a medical mystery after being diagnosed with the same rare condition.

The children all have gastroschisis, a defect where the bowel protrudes through an opening in the abdomen wall.

It affects just one baby in every 10,000 births. Although the incidence of the condition is on the rise in the UK and in other countries, the concentration of cases in one area is highly unusual.

The mothers of the children all lived in Waterdales, in Northfleet, Kent, when they fell pregnant. A sixth mother's unborn child was also diagnosed when she was living in nearby Dover Road.

The cases stretch over a period of 12 years, reports the Daily Mail.

The group discovered the unusual similarity after chatting with neighbours, family and friends.

Now they want answers. Sonia Dalton, 35, said her daughter Mikka, now aged three, was diagnosed during her 21-week pregnancy scan.

Mikka was in intensive care for five weeks after she was born and has had her bowels, appendix, ovaries and fallopian tubes put back into place.

She visits King's College Hospital, London, every six months for check-ups and takes daily medication.

Sonia said: "I told the doctors about the other cases and they were gobsmacked - we need answers to this."

Juliet Green, 39, was living in Waterdales when her unborn daughter Courtney was diagnosed.

Now aged 10, Courtney has had multiple operations, including two blood transfusions a year, in one of the worst cases of gastroschisis.

Juliet said: "It seems so weird that this has happened to so many people living in the same street. We haven"t been given a reason why, we just don"t know."

Juliet said she was stunned when her elder daughter Natalie Margetson, who still lives in Waterdales, said her unborn child had also been diagnosed.


She phoned me up crying and I thought she'd had a miscarriage. We want to see if other parents have had problems and see if anything can be done," she said.


The most recent cases are those of expectant mothers Stella Coffee, 38, and Chantelle Stevens, 23, who have also been told their babies will be born with the condition.

A sixth child was born with gastroschisis in a nearby road. Helen Gallagher, 35, now lives in the neighbouring town of Higham but lived in nearby Dover Road in Northfleet 12 years ago when her son Lewis was born with the condition.

The group has been advised by doctors at King's College Hospital to report their cases to the Director of Public Health at NHS Kent and Medway for a full investigation.

A spokesman for King"s College said the hospital could not comment on individual cases.

Sheila Brown OBE, chief executive of the Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, said: "Gastroschisis is believed to be the fastest growing inborn condition in the UK and incidences are also increasing in other countries.

"This is a departure from current trends, as child health is generally improving."