Why CVID Patients Are Called Zebras

A lot of Doctors have never heard of CVID, and that is very scary for patients because we sometimes go for decades without a proper diagnosis. People with CVID are called Zebras because doctors are taught in medical school, “If it looks like a horse and sounds like a horse then think horse–not zebra” (as in a rare disease). As CVID patients we’re the exception! We are Zebras! Because CVID is very rare, some doctors overlook it and misdiagnose it as something else because the symptoms are identical to other diseases. Or worse, many CVID patients are labeled as hypochondriacs or drug-seeking simply because their doctor doesn’t know what is wrong with them. Another way that CVID patients are similar to zebras is that if you look at one hundred zebras none of their stripes will match exactly. As CVID patients we may be similar in so many ways but our immune systems are incomplete, causing our symptoms to vary from patient to patient. All of these factors contribute to our collective classification as Zebras, and we embrace it by saying that we are “Zebra Strong”.

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