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MDCH Adds Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) to Newborn Screening

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

For Immediate Release:  September 30, 2011

LANSING - Beginning Oct. 1, Michigan babies with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) can be diagnosed early enough to have life-saving treatment, thanks to the addition of SCID to the state's newborn screening panel. Newborn screening uses a tiny sample of a baby's blood to test for rare, hidden disorders such as SCID that are difficult to diagnose, but may affect a child's health and development.

SCID is a primary immunodeficiency disorder that affects both males and females. Babies with SCID appear healthy at birth, but if the disorder is not detected, infants can become sick quickly when exposed to common infections. SCID causes critically low levels of the white blood cells which protect the body from infection. In infants with SCID, even mild illnesses can become serious. Untreated infants rarely live beyond one year.

 

"Improving infant mortality in Michigan is a top priority for MDCH," said Olga Dazzo, Director for the MDCH. "Adding SCID to the newborn screening panel aligns Michigan's program with national standards and allows for a brighter future for Michigan infants and families."

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary's Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children makes national recommendations regarding the most appropriate application of universal newborn screening tests, technologies, policies, guidelines and standards. Last year, the committee recommended screening for SCID because early diagnosis is necessary to improve outcomes through early treatment. Six states already screen for SCID.

 

SCID and related primary immunodeficiency disorders are so rare that most doctors have little to no experience diagnosing and treating them. Affected babies appear to have ordinary infections with common symptoms that are not clearly related to an immune system disorder.

 

Without newborn screening, SCID is unlikely to be diagnosed before a serious infection causes health problems, possibly becoming fatal. Babies with SCID have the best chance of being cured through a bone marrow transplant if they are diagnosed and treated by 3 months of age.

 To learn more about newborn screening in Michigan, contact the MDCH Newborn screening follow-up program at (866) 673-9939, NewbornScreening@Michigan.gov or visit www.michigan.gov/newbornscreening

 

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