- Associated Press - Monday, July 7, 2014

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) - Illinois newborn babies are now being screened for a rare disease called severe combined immunodeficiency.

The (Decatur) Herald and Review reported Sunday (bit.ly/1jcWEqy) that Illinois is the 18th state to test for SCID. It is a rare disorder that causes white blood cells to develop improperly.

Patients are susceptible to recurring infections and could develop pneumonia, meningitis or other complications. They can be treated with a stem-cell or bone-marrow transplant.

Dr. Mohammed A. Khan is a pediatric hospitalist at Decatur Memorial Hospital. He says babies with SCID have ongoing infections which are often fatal by the time SCID is diagnosed.

Newborns have blood drawn at least 24 hours after their first feeding and the state Department of Public Health tests the blood for a variety of diseases.

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