Iowa Newborns to Face New Test


By Ellen Kurt

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Public Health said it's expanding its newborn screening program to include testing for severe combined immune deficiency.

Officials said SCID is a rare inherited disorder caused by a deficiency or absence of cells that help fight infections. The incidence of SCID is estimated to be one in 50,000 to 60,000 live births.

If untreated, most infants with SCID die before their first birthday.

Nearly 40,000 Iowa babies are screened shortly after birth through the newborn screening program.

"Detection of SCID in the immediate newborn period, before the onset of the first severe infection, can save a baby’s life and improve the success of curing this otherwise life-threatening condition," said Dr. Mary Beth Fasano, Medical Consultant for the Iowa SCID Newborn Screening Program.

Officials said that with one small blood sample, more than 50 diseases can be detected.

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