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WHAT IS PRIMARY IMMUNODEFICIENCY

Primary Immunodeficiency (PI) is a set of more than 80 hereditary disorders caused by a defect in one or more genes responsible for the development of key components of the human immune system. It afflicts over 500,000 Americans (one in every 500) mostly children. PI affects more children than childhood leukemia and lymphoma combined. PI, when not addressed immediately, can leave a patient vulnerable to prolonged illness, permanent organ damage and in more severe cases, death.

Since PI does not have unique symptoms, no one is sure how many cases go undiagnosed for long periods of time, but it is estimated that there are another 500,000 undiagnosed.

PI presents itself in the symptoms of 'ordinary' childhood illnesses such as sinus and ear infections, pneumonia, flu, bronchitis and high fevers. The condition can be overlooked or misdiagnosed as an allergy or common infection found among newborns such as asthma or bronchitis. Often, physicians treat each ailment without addressing the underlying cause. The diseases range in severity from chronic sinusitis to SCIDS, the so-called 'Bubble Boy' disease.

Click here to learn more about Primary Immunodeficiency.


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