By MEG KINNARDAssociated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's health department is adding a new test to screenings done on newborn babies.
Department of Health and Environmental Control director Catherine Templeton told The Associated Press that the state will begin testing newborns for severe combined immunodeficiency, informally known as "bubble boy" disease.
Templeton said Thursday that 19 other states already test for the set of genetic disorders that cause immune system defects and can be fatal in the first year of life.
An affected baby is at risk to a life-threatening infection but can be treated with a bone marrow transplant if diagnosed within a few weeks of birth.
Templeton says she's also asking hospitals for information about how they gather and transport blood samples to make sure testing is done as quickly as possible.
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