Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health

Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID)


 Q:  What is Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID)?

Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) includes a group of rare but serious and potentially fatal, inherited immune disorders in which T lymphocytes fail to develop and B lymphocytes are either absent or compromised.  Impairment of both B and T cells leads to the term “combined.” Untreated infants develop life-threatening infections due to bacteria, viruses and fungi.  


Q:  When will SCID screening begin in South Dakota?

The South Dakota Newborn Screening Program is proceeding with the required administrative rule process to begin statewide newborn screening for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Deficiency (SCID) effective August 9, 2015. 


Q:  Why screen for SCID?

Early detection of SCID allows for infants to receive necessary life-saving treatment including antibiotics, isolation precautions and a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.  If not treated, most infants do not survive past one year of age.  The incidence of SCID is estimated to be 1 in 50,000 live births. 


Q:  How will the Newborn Screening Program screen for SCID?

Screening for SCID involves T-cell receptor excision circle (TREC) analysis.  TRECs are a piece of DNA produced during the formation of T cells in the thymus.  Although this testing is DNA-based, TREC analysis is not a test for gene mutations.  Newborn screening specimen collection and submission will not change from current procedures. All SD newborn screening specimens are submitted to the contracted laboratory, the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa (SHL).


Q:  What will happen if an infant screens positive for SCID? The infant’s physician, as documented on the specimen collection card, will be notified and consultation provided if further testing is indicated.  The notification of positive SCID newborn screening results will occur as it has in the past for the other disorders.


Questions regarding SCID screening may be directed to:
The South Dakota Newborn Screening Program

ph. 605-773-3361 or 800-738-2301


Additional SCID Information

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