Boys more susceptible

Chronic Granulomatous Disease (CGD) is very rare, Associate Professor Chan Mei Yoke told The New Paper.

The Head of Haematology and Oncology at KK Women's and Children's Hospital said the disease is an inherited condition and boys are more likely to be affected.

Those afflicted with the disease have defective immune systems and are unable to kill certain types of bacteria and fungi.

Prof Chan said patients with CGD have recurrent and chronic infections like skin abscesses.

Therefore, they need to be very careful about hygiene, she added.

Infections have to be treated immediately and drugs are prescribed to prevent them.

But Prof Chan said the only cure for CGD is to get a new immune system by undergoing a haematopoietic stem cell transplant.

In such a transplant, bone marrow stem cells, where the immune system cells originate from, are destroyed using chemotherapy.

Normal stem cells are then transplanted.

If the transplant is successful, the normal stem cells will re-populate the "empty" bone marrow and start to produce normal immune system cells like regular white blood cells.