Chronic granulomatous disease, or CGD, is a rare and often fatal congenital immunodeficiency caused by defective white blood cells. In affected children, leukocytes are able to ingest but not kill certain bacteria which leads to skin, lung and lymph node lesions. Infections are common, especially in the skin, liver, lymph nodes, intestinal tract and bones — the infections are often caused by bacteria that would not cause infections in normal, healthy patients.
It occurs mostly in boys with X-linked inheritance but twenty percent of cases occur in girls.
Treatment is usually with continual antibiotic therapy or bone marrow transplantation. There is currently research being carried out to see if in the future, interferon or gene therapy can be used for a cure.
In Whac-A-Mole, House treats a young adult with the disease who keeps getting new infections even as the team treats the existing infections. In this patient's case, the disease became acute due to stress.