In 43 states more than 40% of baby formula it has not been there recently – and families with special dietary needs are growing up in despair.

Eight-year-old Izzy Bradford is a bunch of energy. But the third-grader suffers from a rare disease called phenylketonuria, also known as PKU, and relies on a special formula for about 70% of her diet.

If she didn’t have a metabolic formula, “she would start to deteriorate psychologically, emotionally and physically,” her mother Sarah Chamberlin told CBS News. “In the long run, the lack of a formula will lead to irreversible brain damage.”

About 17,000 Americans suffer from PKU, one of many metabolic disorders that require a special formula.

Chamberlain said her family only received two special formula cans in the last order when they were to receive 16.

Pediatrician Dr. Paul Levy fears that if more patients dry out, treatment for them will be limited.

“It’s going to be a big problem,” he told CBS News. “Even if they get sick and we send them to the hospital, the tools we will use are based on formulas. So we have a limited set of tools that we can use even when they are in the hospital.”

Abbott Nutrition told CBS News that it would give priority to special formulas if it raises production again.

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