Any Jewish mother thinks her baby boy is special. But Amanda Zablocki’s son is one in a million — and in one of the most heart-wrenching ways imaginable.
Idan Zablocki is 1 year old. Three months ago he was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Hyper IgM syndrome, a rare immune deficiency that actually affects two out of every 1 million people.
“It’s similar to what you know as the ‘Bubble Boy syndrome,’” explained the boy’s father, 33-year-old Akiva Zablocki. “Hyper IgM is like one level down from that. “ Idan cannot drink tap water. Bath time means pouring out bottled water into the tub. Guests must take off their shoes, wash their hands, and sometimes even wear masks and a clean change of clothes.
Though his parents can still touch him and hug him, they also must take precautions. His father, who has the sniffles, has been wearing a mask for the past week in order “not to risk anything.”
“We’re kind of living in our own bubble to make sure we’re not taking anything from the outside and bringing it to him,” said Amanda Zablocki, 28. “Sometimes I hear someone sneeze on the train and I actually change train cars.”
Idan was born healthy, but roughly eight and a half months later he started breathing abnormally quickly as he was recovering from a cold. A couple of weeks later it happened again. In the end his respiration rate got so high that his parents rushed him to the hospital.
“He was diagnosed with a very rare form of pneumonia, caused by a fungus that’s extremely common,” his mother explained. ”It’s almost like getting sick from dust. People who get sick from that are people who have very compromised immune systems.”
Because he has almost no ability to produce antibodies, Idan cannot come into contact with germs. He has an extended family and cousins his own age in Israel and the United States, but he has never met them, as an ordinary cold could be a death sentence.