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Texas to test newborns for life-threatening immune disorder


Medical personnel with the Texas Department of State Health Services have added severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) to the list of diseases that all newborns in Texas are screened for at birth.
The DSHS laboratory will begin screening for SCID in September using the same newborn screening specimens already collected to test for 28 other rare disorders.
SCID is a group of genetic disorders that causes profound defects of the immune system, the body's line of defense against all types of infections. SCID is one of the most critical immune system problems and occurs in an estimated one in 40,000 to one in 100,000 newborns. If it is not treated, most affected infants die within the first year of life.
"I'm very happy that Texas will begin screening for SCID," said DSHS Commissioner Dr. David Lakey. "While SCID is an extremely serious condition, it can be treated successfully if it is detected early. Adding this screening will help give Texas babies with SCID the opportunity to live normal, healthy lives."
Texas operates the largest newborn screening program in the nation, testing about 800,000 specimens per year. The blood to be tested is drawn by a simple heel stick within 48 hours of birth and again at one to two weeks of age. The screening provides an opportunity to detect medical conditions that, if not addressed early, would cause serious problems like developmental delays, major illness or death.