Too Many Infections?

Is the immune system okay? AIDS is the most famous disease affecting the immune system, but there are more than 70 different immunodeficiency diseases that are not caused by viruses. Together they affect millions of people worldwide. They cause children to have frequent infections or infections that are unusually hard to cure. Too often, the underlying immunodeficiency remains undiagnosed.

Jeffrey Modell was one such child. He had numerous bouts with high fevers, nausea, and other symptoms for which no cause could be determined. In between these bouts, he was a healthy, active, optimistic boy. Sadly, he died at age 15 when his immune system could not save him. Today, the Jeffrey Modell Foundation is dedicated to “the early and precise diagnosis, the meaningful treatment, and ultimate cure of primary immunodeficiencies.” Experts at the Jeffrey Modell Foundation have developed The 10 Warning Signs of Primary Immunodeficiency. If you or your child has more than one of these signs, contact your doctor about the possibility of an immunodeficiency:

  1. Eight or more new ear infectionswithin 1 year.
  2. Two or more serious sinus infectionswithin 1 year.
  3. Two or more months on antibioticswith little effect.
  4. Two or more pneumoniaswithin 1 year.
  5. Failure of an infant to gain weight or grow normally.
  6. Recurrent deep skin or organ abscesses.
  7. Persistent thrush in mouth or elsewhere after age 1.
  8. Need for intravenous antibiotics to clear infections.
  9. Two or more deep-seated infections.
  10. A family history of Primary Immunodeficiency.
Published on: July 13, 2001
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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