Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) is an immune system disorder that can lead to many infections and problems with bleeding too easily. In WAS, two parts of the blood don’t work well: platelets and white blood cells. Platelets control bleeding and white blood cells fight infections. So, a child with WAS may bleed or bruise easily and have many infections. Often the first signs of WAS are bruising that won’t go away, frequent infections, and a skin rash.
WAS is inherited, which means that the disease is caused by faulty genes passed on from parents to children. Genes carry a set of instructions that tells the body how to work properly.
WAS is present at birth and symptoms usually show within one year. It mostly affects boys. WAS is very rare. In the United States, about one out of 100,000 boys are born with the disease.1
1. Ochs HD, Filipovich AH, Veys P, Cowan MJ, Kapoor N. Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome: Diagnosis, clinical and laboratory manifestations, and treatment. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2009; 15(1, Suppl.): 84-90