This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A disorder that makes it hard for newborns to fight infections is two times more prevalent among Utah infants than previously thought.

Utah health officials documented greater numbers of babies with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) after doctors in the state started testing for the disorder in July 2013. It is now one of 38 disorders on Utah's Newborn Screening Panel, tests run with blood pricked from babies' heels, according to a Utah Department of Health news release.

A couple whose 7-week-old daughter was diagnosed with SCID during a newborn screening joined with health department officials Thursday to urge such screening tests.

Jody Bell and Logan Hauenstein's daughter Calla has been in isolation at Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City since a few days after her birth. She's awaiting a bone marrow transplant, which can be a successful treatment if SCID is diagnosed early.

Babies with SCID can appear normal at birth, but can't fight infections because they lack T-cells and antibody immunity. They develop diarrhea and fail to thrive. Before the immune disorder was added to the panel of tests, babies often were not diagnosed until after they developed serious infections.

Utah is now one of 23 states testing for SCID, and has screened about 61,000 newborns since July 1, 2013.

The prevalence of the disorder was thought to be one in 100,000. Diagnoses so far, however, indicate it occurs in one of 50,000 Utah newborns, according to the health department.

Twitter: @KristenMoulton

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