Chronic granulomatous disease, or C-G-D, is a rare disease that about 20 children are born with every year in the United States.
People with CGD have an immune system that doesn’t work properly, so they are at more of a risk of getting serious, life-threatening infections that lead to hospitalization.
How does your immune system work? When the immune system finds harmful things in the body, like certain types of fungi and bacteria, it sends extra immune cells, called phagocytes, to the site to kill them. This usually stops an infection before it starts.
People with CGD can usually stop viral infections like a cold or flu, but they can’t stop infections caused by certain fungi and bacteria.
As the immune cells try and fail to kill the fungi or bacteria, they build up and form hard lumps called granulomas.
People with CGD can experience:
Serious, sudden, and frequent infections in many areas of the body, including the lungs, liver, or bones
Skin infections that cause boils, blisters, and sores that don’t go away
Bowel problems from inflammation in the intestines, such as diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal pain
Pain or difficulty eating or going to the bathroom
How do you get CGD?
CGD isn’t contagious like a cold. It’s a genetic condition, which means you’re born with it. There are 2 major ways that CGD can be passed down to a child.
Autosomal recessive CGD occurs when both parents pass on a faulty gene to their child.
In autosomal recessive, both parents are carriers of CGD. They have 1 normal copy of the gene and 1 copy of the gene that doesn’t work right.
But the most common way CGD is inherited is X-linked. It is passed down from the mother to her sons because she carries a faulty X chromosome. For this reason, usually only males get X-linked CGD.
In X-linked, the mother is the carrier of CGD.
How to lower the chance of getting serious infections
There are ways to try to help make serious infections with CGD less likely. Medicines to help treat CGD includes antibiotics, antifungals, and interferon gamma, known as ACTIMMUNE®.
ACTIMMUNE® helps lower the risk of serious infection in people with CGD. The most common side effects with ACTIMMUNE® are flu-like symptoms, which may decrease in seriousness as treatment continues.
ACTIMMUNE® can do this because it contains a protein called interferon gamma that’s almost the same as the one the immune system makes naturally as it fights infections.
These treatments help make it possible for people with CGD to spend less time in the hospital and more time doing what they enjoy most.