'Bubble Boy' disease, also known as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), is more common than researchers once believed, a new study has found. The disease, which destroys a baby's immune system, can be fatal in most cases if the baby catches an infection.
The research with over 3 million infants within 10 states along with the
Navajo Area Indian Health Service, discovered approximately a single case of
SCID for every 58,000 births. This is roughly two times higher than the
previous estimate of one in 100,000.
The study highlighted the importance of screening newborns for Bubble Boy
disease. "Early detection and screening
for SCID is important since in 80 percent of SCID cases, there is no family
history. The disease is only observed when an infection develops," researchers
"This study is one more key piece of evidence documenting the
importance of SCID newborn screening, which allows SCID to be detected and
treated before babies risk serious infection and death. Newborn screening not
only saves lives but is also cost effective, saving an estimated $500,000 to 4
million per infant diagnosed," researchers added.
The findings were published in the Journal of the
American Medical Association.