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Spleen Disorders and Immunodeficiency

By

James Fernandez

, MD, PhD, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University

Last full review/revision Apr 2021| Content last modified Apr 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION

For people whose spleen is absent at birth or has been damaged or removed because of disease, the risk of developing severe bacterial infections is increased.

People who have a spleen disorder or no spleen are given antibiotics at the first sign of infection. Children who do not have a spleen should take antibiotics, usually penicillin or ampicillin, continuously until at least age 5 to prevent an infection in the bloodstream. If they also have an immunodeficiency disorder, they may take these antibiotics indefinitely.

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Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is a genetic disorder that causes low levels of antibodies and T-cells (a type of cell that attacks foreign substances). Individuals with severe SCID have virtually no protection from bacteria, fungi, or viruses. As a result, they are prone to repeated and persistent infections. Which of the following is the age at which SCID usually first presents?
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