Screened at birth: Texas adding nationwide recommendation

Image from Texas Department of State Health Services website

The Texas Department of State Health Services declared that, as of September 1, 2012, the state will begin screening babies at birth for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID).

Since 2003, March of Dimes had been working with Texas Legislature to make sure all babies in Texas are screened for birth disorders recommended by the U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services.

There are currently 31 disorders recommended nationwide to screen for, and Texas screens for 29 of those disorders.

The two disorders that Texas has not had funds to screen for are Critical Congenital Heart Disease and SCID.

Children with SCID are prone to persistent infections because they lack the immune protection against fungi, bacteria and viruses.

Without the early identification and treatment at birth, babies with SCID can develop infections that often lead to death.

SCID caught early is curable, said Jennifer Garcia, mother of Cameron, who was 9 months old when he died. Poor Cameron suffered so much, and his little body endured a lot. It TMs heartbreaking to think it could have been and should have been different for him if he had only been screened at birth.

Screening for SCID was first recommended in January 2010 and approved by U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius five months later.