Clinical Immunology

Allergy and Asthma Affiliates provide medical treatment for clinical immunology conditions like Primary Immunodeficiency and Common Variable Immunodeficiency.

It is common for individuals to get an occasional infection. However, while most people can recover on their own from the majority of infections, some may experience recurring infections that require ongoing antibiotic treatment.

Primary Immunodeficiency (PI) diseases occur in those born with an absent or hampered immune system. While not contagious, these diseases are caused by hereditary or genetic defects and can affect anyone, regardless of age or sex. The World Health Organization recognizes more than 200 primary immunodeficiency diseases – some are relatively common, others are quite rare. Some affect a single cell within the immune system; others may affect one or more components of the system.

While the diseases may differ, they all share one common feature: each results from a defect in one of the functions of the body’s normal immune system. Because one of the most important functions of the normal immune system is to protect us against infection, patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases commonly have an increased susceptibility to infection.

Correct diagnosis of a PI disease begins with awareness of the 10 warning signs and the first step in diagnosing a Primary Immunodeficiency disease is a good evaluation. Allergy & Asthma Affiliates can help with diagnosis and treatment.

10 Warning Signs:
  • 8 or more new ear infections within 1 year
  • 2 or more serious sinus infection within 1 year
  • 2 or more months on antibiotics with little effect
  • 2 or more pneumonias within 1 year
  • Failure of a child to gain weight or grow normally
  • Recurrent deep skin or organ abscesses
  • Persistent thrush in mouth or elsewhere on skin
  • Need for intravenous antibiotics to clear infection
  • 2 or more deep-seated infections
  • A family history of Primary Immune Deficiency
Evaluation of the immune system may include:
  • Detailed medical history
  • Physical exam
  • Blood tests
  • Vaccines to test the immune response

Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID) is a group of 20 to 30 primary immune deficiency disorders characterized by low levels of specific immunoglobulins or antibodies produced by the immune system to fight infections or disease. In CVID, frequent bacterial infections may occur in the skin, the sinuses, the throat, the ears, the lungs, the brain, spinal cord, or in the urinary or intestinal tracts. The increased vulnerability to infection may include repeated infections, infections that won’t clear up or unusually severe infections. People with CVID diseases live their entire lives more susceptible to infections–enduring recurrent health problems and often developing serious and debilitating illnesses.

Fortunately, with proper medical care, many patients live full and independent lives. There are a variety of treatment choices for immunodeficient patients. At a minimum, the recurring infections can be treated with antibiotics. These can help prevent damage caused by chronic illness, improving a patient’s chances for long-term survival while enhancing the quality of life. Another important treatment intervention is antibody replacement therapy, often referred to as IVIG therapy. IVIG works by replacing the antibodies that the body cannot make on its own. At Horizon Infusions Center our team of Registered Nurses administer IVIG therapy. For more information on our Infusion Center, click here.