Immune Deficiency Disorders: Symptoms

Reviewed by Kanao Otsu, MD, MPH

The most apparent sign of an immune deficiency disorder is frequent and recurrent infections that appear excessive.

The number of infections vary in healthy people, depending on transient factors such as stress level, exposures to children and virulence of common viruses. This makes it harder to assess whether a person is experiencing an excess number of infections.

This list was adapted from the Jeffrey Modell Foundation’s 10 warning signs for primary immunodeficiency (PID) in adults. Individuals who have experienced two or more of the following:

  • Two or more new ear infections within 1 year

  • Two or more new sinus infections within 1 year, in the absence of allergy

  • One pneumonia per year (radiographically proven) for more than 1 year

  • Chronic diarrhea with weight loss

  • Recurrent viral infections (colds, herpes, warts, condyloma)

  • Recurrent need for intravenous antibiotics to clear infections

  • Recurrent, deep abscesses of the skin, lymph nodes or internal organs

  • Persistent thrush or fungal infections on skin or elsewhere

  • Infections with normally harmless tuberculosis-like bacteria

  • A family history of primary immunodeficiency.

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