Florida to Test Newborns for SCID, a Life-Threatening Immune Disease

TOWSON, Md., Oct. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Florida Department of Health has added Severe Combined Immune Deficiency Disease (SCID), known as bubble boy disease, to the list of conditions that all newborns in the state are screened for at birth beginning October 1, 2012.

SCID is a primary immunodeficiency disease where affected infants lack T lymphocytes or white blood cells that help fight infections from a wide array of viruses, bacteria and fungi, leaving these infants susceptible to serious, life-threatening infections. Babies with SCID appear healthy at birth, but without early treatment, most often by bone marrow transplant, these infants cannot survive. SCID infants who receive treatment within months of birth have a greater possibility of living happy, productive lives, thus the importance of newborn screening.

In the time since the Federal recommendation that all states screen for SCID, dozens of babies have been born with this condition and gone undetected until serious infection made it known. Three babies born in Florida suffered from this fate as one passed away at the age of five months last year, while the other two babies spent months in the hospital for treatment. Both remain in delicate circumstances awaiting recovery.

The Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF), the national patient organization for persons with primary immunodeficiency diseases, commends the state of Florida for making this momentous decision showing that every life is worth saving. IDF continues to work tirelessly for universal newborn screening for SCID. "It is imperative that we sustain this momentum by establishing newborn screening in all 50 states," said Marcia Boyle, IDF President & Founder.

Heather Smith, co-founder of SCID Angels for Life, who lost her seven-month-old son Brandon to SCID, has worked determinedly in the state to show the importance of early detection using her own tragedy as an example. Ms. Smith, along with other volunteers, attended meetings with policymakers advocating for this decision for more than a year.

"History was made when Florida decided to add SCID to their newborn screening panel," concluded Ms. Smith, "Babies lives will be saved in Florida!"

About the Immune Deficiency Foundation
The Immune Deficiency Foundation is the national patient organization dedicated to improving the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life of persons with primary immunodeficiency diseases through advocacy, education, and research. For more information, contact IDF at 800-296-4433 or info@primaryimmune.org.

SOURCE Immune Deficiency Foundation