Information is power. And, if you are the parent of a new baby, it can be a comfort. The Illinois Department of Public Health has added severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) to the list of conditions and syndromes newborns are tested for. That list, now at 40, stands to rise this summer, says IDPH deputy director Tom Schafer, when some lysosomal storage disorders are added.
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SCID is treatable if it’s caught within three months of birth. Schafer says. “This makes the baby susceptible to infections,” Schafer says. “The baby’s going to be sick frequently, and the parents are not going to know why the child is ill.” Hospital staff pricks the baby’s heel and puts its blood onto a litmus paper. The paper is sent to a state lab in Chicago, with results available in a week or so.