Illinois babies being tested for new disorder
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has announced that all babies born in an Illinois hospital will now be tested for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) and other immunodeficiencies.
SCID is an inherited disorder, causing improper development of white blood cells that are the primary defense against viruses, bacteria and fungal infections. Babies born with SCID appear healthy, but are very susceptible to recurrent infections and may develop pneumonia, meningitis or other complications, the IDPH says.
The disorder occurs in one out of every 40,000 to 75,000 births, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Without medical treatment, babies diagnosed with SCID may die before reaching a year old,” said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, in a news release.
“However, if a newborn is diagnosed with SCID, they can be treated with a stem cell/bone marrow transplant. By catching this genetic disorder early, we hope to be able to save lives and prevent suffering and future medical complications for babies diagnosed with SCID.”
Illinois becomes the 18th state to test for SCID and – with the addition – now tests newborns for 40 different health disorders. Each year, IDPH labs test about 160,000 newborns with roughly 18,000 abnormal test results, of which 350 are diagnosed with a disorder.
“Newborn screening programs have been established to ensure that infants with serious unseen disorders, like SCID, are identified as soon as possible,” says Dr. Robert Rosenberg, medical director of obstetrics and gynecology at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “Early detection can often prevent long-term serious illness or death.”
For more information on newborn screening, please visit www.idph.state.il.us/HealthWellness/genetics.htm.
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