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Babies born in Illinois are being tested for blood disorder

Updated: June 16, 2014 5:01PM

All babies born in Illinois hospitals are being tested for a new disorder, officials said.

Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is an inherited disorder, which causes improper development of white blood cells that are the primary defense against viruses, bacteria and fungal infections, said the Illinois Department of Public Health. People with SCID are very susceptible to recurrent infections and may develop pneumonia, meningitis or other complications.

Babies born with the disorder appear normal at birth, yet they may die before age 1 without treatment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

“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,” said the IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck.

If SCID is diagnosed early in life, before the onset of infection, a bone marrow transplant can successfully treat the disorder, the CDC said.

Testing in Illinois began June 9, 2014, a spokeswoman for IDPH said.

Illinois is the 18th state to test for SCID, the state said. SCID testing is on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ recommended core list.

The disorder occurs in one out of every 40,000 to 75,000 births, CDC said.

With the addition of SCID, Illinois now tests newborns for 40 disorders.

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