A Genetic Flaw May Put Your Child in Jeopardy
Media Release Date: 12/24/03

(NUI) - Primary Immunodeficiency, also known as PI, could be causing health problems for your child right now. And you may suspect something is wrong. Should you be concerned? Definitely.

You are not alone. Many parents are frustrated because they see little or no improvement in their child's condition, even after frequent doctor visits. They know something must be wrong, but they just cannot figure out what it is.

Unfortunately, some parents facing this situation lose hope, and they resign themselves to believing their child will always be sick more often than other children. But if your child is one of the more than 500,000 Americans afflicted with PI, you can have hope, but only if you are well informed.

PI is a genetic defect in a child's immune system that makes the child more susceptible to illness. PI is not rare; it exists in more than 100 forms. The condition is more prevalent than childhood leukemia and lymphoma combined.

PI is very different from AIDS, and they should not be confused with each other. Although both involve the immune system, PI is genetic, or "built into" a person's body by their genes. It's like the color of your eyes; you don't catch it, and you can't change it. AIDS, on the other hand, is acquired and is an infectious disease.

Correct diagnosis of PI begins with awareness of the warning signs, such as eight or more new ear infections, two or more sinus infections, or two or more pneumonias within one year. Other signs include two or more months on antibiotics with little effect, recurrent deep skin or organ abscesses, and failure to gain weight or grow normally.

If your child exhibits two or more of these symptoms, you should learn more about PI. Call the Jeffrey Modell Foundation at 1-866-INFO-4-PI, or visit the Web site at www.info4pi.org. If diagnosed correctly, PI is treatable and your child can live a normal, happy and healthy life.

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