East Hawaii News

Health Dept. Adds SCID to Newborn Screening

March 4, 2015, 10:00 AM HST
* Updated March 4, 10:04 AM
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Severe Combined Immunodeficiency will be added to the Hawai’i State Department of Health Newborn Metabolic Screening Program, according to DOH officials.

Hawai’i will be universally screening all disorders on the United States Department of Health and Human Service Recommended Uniform Screening Panel, now that SCID has been added.

“While this condition is rare, it can have serious life-threatening consequences for newborn infants,” said Sylvia Mann, DOH Genomic Section Supervisor. “Fortunately, early screening can identify this and other inherited conditions, giving newborns a chance for life-saving treatment.”

DOH representatives say that SCID is a group of inherited disorders that affect babies, causing them to be born without a working immune system. Many times, SCID is not noticeable at first in newborns because their mother’s immune system protects them from infections for the first few weeks post-birth.

Babies who do not receive the necessary treatment can face life threatening situations when exposed to common infections or vaccines. A critical factor in these infants survival is early detection and treatment. A bone marrow transplant or gene therapy is generally the treatment for the condition.

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Newborns in Hawai’i already undergo a bloodspot of 32 disorders. The SCID screening will be added along with those. The bloodspot sample is collected within 24-48 hours of being born. These are only screening tests and cannot diagnose things like SCID. A suspected diagnosis would have to be followed by a follow-up testing.

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A federally funded partnership between Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, the University of California at Los Angeles Mattel’s Children’s Hospital, and the Hawai’i Department of Health has been created in order to ensure that babies born in Hawai’i have access to life-saving treatment options.

Those interested in learning more about SCID and the Hawai’i Newborn Screening Program can visit the DOH website or contact Gwen Palmer, program coordinator, at (808) 733-9069.

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