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Wisconsin First State in Nation to Screen Newborns for 'Bubble Boy Disease'
Date:1/3/2008

The Jeffrey Modell Foundation drives initiative for SCID screening

MILWAUKEE, Jan. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- On Jan. 1, Wisconsin became the first state in the nation to screen all newborns for Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID). Sometimes known as "Bubble Boy Disease," SCID is a genetic disorder that is fatal without early diagnosis and treatment. Babies diagnosed can be referred for potentially life-saving treatment.

The Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services approved moving to phase two of the pilot screening program in which screening for SCID will be routine for all newborns in Wisconsin (estimated at 70,000 annually). The screening has been added to the current panel of 47 other tests that are given to newborns.

The pilot program began one year ago as a collaborative effort between the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and the Jeffrey Modell Foundation. Phase one involved developing a procedure using residual, unidentified blood specimens from Wisconsin's nationally recognized newborn screening program.

"The collaboration between the State Laboratory and Children's Hospital has advanced Wisconsin's health care for newborns at a rapid pace. The outstanding dedication demonstrated by everyone involved is the reason we have progressed to the next phase at a record pace," said Ronald H. Laessig, PhD, emeritus director and professor of Population Health Sciences at the State Laboratory of Hygiene, UW-Madison.

"This complex disease can be cured with a bone marrow transplant if diagnosed early before serious infections develop. That is why the early detection and treatment of SCID through routine screening in newborns will save lives. The screening also will spare infants' repeated and prolonged hospitalizations and save millions of dollars in health care costs. We believe that the Wisconsin Newborn Screening Program will serv
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SOURCE Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
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