What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know About Newborn Testing

When I joined millions of other obsessed fans who watched what’s become the wildly popular “Bubble Boy” episode on Seinfeld back in 1992, I had no idea there was a shred of truth to it.

The shred being David Vetter, a young boy with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), who had actually lived for more than 10 years in a germ-free plastic “bubble” that literally shielded him from deadly germs, bacteria, and viruses–simply because his body couldn’t.

Then again, the Internet was in its infancy, and I wasn’t reading the New York Times online every night like I do now. I have a feeling I’m not alone, either. We’ve come a long way.

In case you need some context, SCID is a primary type of genetic immune deficiency that severely impacts T and B lymphocytes (white blood cells) in the body.

Though rare, infants suffer acute and life-threatening infections within the first few months of life such as meningitis, chicken pox, and pneumonia. Without a properly functioning immune system, adequate newborn testing, and available treatment, the majority of babies with SCID would die.

But today, there is hope! Lives are being saved.

In October 2015, the Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) sang the praises of North Carolina Governor McCrory, who got the Baby Carlie Nugent Bill signed into law!

The law is named for little Carlie Nugent, who was only six months old when she died from SCID, just one month after her diagnosis.

With this new law now enacted, newborns in North Carolina will undergo mandatory testing at birth for SCID. North Carolina has now joined the ranks of the other 36 U.S. states that have revolutionized this form of early health screening as discussed in an article by JPellegrini. With early screening and prompt administration of targeted bone marrow treatment within the first 3.5 months after birth, more than 90% of children are surviving and thriving.

If you’d like to learn more about SCID, check out:

Alisha Stone

Alisha Stone

Alisha Stone has a BA in psychology and is dedicated to improving the lives of others living with chronic illnesses.

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