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Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) is an inherited immune system disorder that occurs when a type of white blood cell that usually helps the body fight infection, called a phagocyte, does not work properly. In CGD, the phagocytes can’t kill germs that are ingested, and so cannot protect the body from bacterial and fungal infections. Children with CGD are often healthy at birth, but develop severe infections in infancy and during early childhood. Rarely, in milder forms, the diagnosis doesn’t become clear for years or decades.
Because they are unable to fight off infections, children with CGD often get very sick from bacteria that would be mild or cause no disease at all in a healthy child. These infections may affect the lungs, skin, liver, lymph nodes, and intestines. Children with the condition may also develop masses of inflammatory tissue called granulomas in response to chronic infections. These granulomas usually develop in the skin, gastrointestinal tract and genitourinary tract. The disease was named for these masses of inflammation before the genetic causes of CGD were discovered.
Children with CGD are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s through our Blood Disorders Center. Our Center provides comprehensive care for a wide range of non-malignant blood disorders, and our patients have access to some of the most advanced diagnostics and treatments available.
Find in-depth information on chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) on the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s website, including answers to:
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