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Importance of Early Detection of Primary Immunodeficiency (PID)

ASCIA Primary Immunodeficiencies (PID) e-training

Early recognition of primary immunodeficiency (PID) is vital as early referral to a specialist improves management of disease. A new e-training course for health professionals has been released by ASCIA that aims to increase awareness of PID amongst general practitioners, paediatricians and general physicians. 

Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is the most serious form of primary immunodeficiency and is usually diagnosed in early infancy. It is a rare disorder, thought to affect less than ten Australian children born each year.

Primary immune deficiencies, such as SCID, are caused bydefects in cells of the immune system. This contrasts with secondary immunodeficiency diseases such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which is caused by infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

SCID is usually an inherited disorder. Babies are still dying in Australia from SCID. If diagnosed and their bone marrow transplanted within the first 3 months of life, a child has a 95% chance of survival.

Newborn screening for SCID will prevent infant deaths from undiagnosed SCID and also enable the potential diagnosis of other primary immune deficiencies. The Immune Deficiencies Foundation of Australia is campaigning for newborn screening for SCID.

Read more: Importance of Early Detection of Primary Immunodeficiency (PID)

Sjögrens Awareness

Sjögrens syndrome is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the lacrimal and salivary glands decreasing the production of tears, saliva and moisture production in the body. This causes the most common symptoms of Sjögrens syndrome, namely dryness of the eyes and mouth. Sjögren's is one of the most prevalent autoimmune disorders, striking as many as 1 in 200 Australians. 9 out of 10 patients are women. Symptoms can plateau, worsen, or go into remission. While some people experience mild symptoms, others suffer debilitating symptoms that greatly impair their quality of life.

The Autoimmune Resource & Research Centre recently held a seminar on Sjogrens. A film of the seminar, presented by Associate Professor Glenn Reeves, can be viewed for a small fee at 

Read more: Sjögrens Awareness

Climate and environment impact on grass pollen allergens: why this is important

World Allergy Week April 4-10th, 2016Climate changes are lengthening the pollen allergy seasons resulting in increased intensity of allergen exposure world-wide.

Pollen allergy (hay fever) and other allergies, including mould, are increasing in prevalence and severity and will continue to be a concern as warmer weather brings more allergen sensitivity. The prevalence of pollen allergy appears to be increasing, and there are associated economic costs (loss of work or school productivity) which can be addressed with new treatments and environmental control measures[1].

Hay fever is a common and debilitating disease, affecting 3 million Australians. The prevalence of seasonal hay fever is higher in children and adolescents than in adults. There is a significant correlation between asthma and hay fever in school children.

Read more: Climate and environment impact on grass pollen allergens: why this is important

Success of Ride for AIFA

Michael Fries reaches SydneyAIFA welcomed Michael Fries and his support crew into Circular Quay on 31st March after his epic ride from Melbourne. The team raised over $3200 for AIFA and spread the word through regional Victoria and NSW about our work.

Michael raised the money on an innovative new app that encourages Generation Y to get into fundraising using small microdonations on their mobile phones. Donations will be accepted until the end of April. Every little bit helps to go a long way, as Michael knows.

Read more: Success of Ride for AIFA

Dorotea's story

Dorotea's storyDorotea was diagnosed with Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) at 4 months of age. This year research funding from AIFA is targeted at finding out more about this condition to help children like her. See 

"To say that having a child with FPIES is stressful is an understatement," Dorotea's mother Amanda writes. "Getting help for these children is very difficult as the condition is rare and even many paediatricians are inexperienced in the management of it. Dorotea's first admission to hospital was after a severe reaction to soy formula. As is often the case, it was misdiagnosed as a viral gastroenteritis.

The main symptom of FPIES is profuse vomiting, which can be accompanied by pallor, floppiness, hypotension and hypothermia. The FPIES reactions may be triggered by a variety of foods, although the most common triggers in Australia are staple foods such as cow’s milk, rice/oats, soy and eggs.

Amanda explains that "the diagnosis of FPIES is just the beginning of what is often an incredibly exhausting few years. Because there is no testing available to ascertain what foods are safe, each new food needs to be trialled separately. We long to see this condition better understood so that families do not have to live with the exhaustion and uncertainty that marks our weeks."

Read more: Dorotea's story

Ride for AIFA

Michaels ride for AIFAMichael Fries is preparing to undertake a significant mental and physical challenge to raise money for AIFA.

Our bold, new fundraiser suffered from multiple allergies as a child.

When Michael was six months old, he was diagnosed with allergies to egg, dairy, specific nuts, some meats, animal fur and dust mites.

He experienced a few close calls which were life-threatening.

"I can empathise with the daily struggle of people afflicted with allergies and the stress and anxiety that is endured by families", Michael explained.

Read more: Ride for AIFA

Fatal allergic reaction to bee sting

Tragically, last month a 57 year-old truck driver, Mark Williams, died after an allergic reaction to a bee sting in Western Australia.

"Mark did take his allergy seriously but his death shows how dangerous allergies can be and how quickly something can happen,” his wife Maree said in an article in The West Australian. (See

A donation in Memoriam from his friends and colleagues is now listed on the Donors page of the AIFA website

Allergies to venoms from stinging insects are one of the most common causes of severe allergic reactions in Australia.

Read more: Fatal allergic reaction to bee sting

©2019 Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia