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Arizona newborns could soon be tested at birth for SCID

PHOENIX — Arizona’s health department will soon test newborns for another dangerous disease as funding from the state budget comes into play.

Severe combined immunodeficiency disorder, also known as SCID, causes babies to have trouble fighting off infections.

“A lot of parents don’t realize that every newborn in Arizona is tested for about 30 disorders,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Many of those disorders could cause severe developmental delays, intellectual delays or even death.

The state health department will test babies at 2- and 10-days-old. That gives doctors a very early indication that a child may have a disease so they can get a head start on treatment.

“With severe combined immunodeficiency there is an intervention,” Christ said. “You can try to keep them as infection-free as possible during the first few months.”

But Christ said there are only two cures for SCID: Gene replacement therapy or a bone marrow transplant.

“But ultimately either do gene replacement therapy or bone marrow transplant and that cures the kids,” she said.

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