Recurring coughs and colds are often a feature of early childhood that most parents rightly dismiss as an unpleasant rite of passage. Some might even go as far as describing these illnesses as necessary for growing immune systems.
However, for a small number of parents, this repeated cycle of common childhood illnesses can point to Hunter syndrome (also known as mucopolysaccharidosis type II; MPS II), a rare genetic disease that affects one in every 162,000 new born children, mostly boys.
Because of the way it first presents, Hunter syndrome can be difficult for doctors to diagnose. Symptoms differ in each child and frequently overlap with common childhood illnesses. This can make the journey to a diagnosis a long one. Speaking of her experience with early symptoms, Toni Ann, who has two sons with the disease, says:
Aiden was born a beautiful, healthy baby boy, but he had frequent ear infections that we were told were typical. He had two sets of tubes put in his ears, and then his adenoids removed when he was a year and a half old. He got colds a lot.
- Toni Ann, mother of two sons with Hunter syndrome