Only 21 states offer newborn screening tests recommended by March of Dimes

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., JUNE 30, 2004 Seventy percent of babies born in the U.S. still fail to get the minimal number of newborn tests recommended by the March of Dimes, according to the non-profit's 2004 state-by-state report card on newborn screening.

The March of Dimes is the first national health organization to recommend that every baby born in the U.S. receive, at a minimum, screening for the same core group of nine metabolic disorders as well as hearing deficiency. The March of Dimes encourages states to add more screening tests as resources and capabilities allow.

Few parents realize that the extent of this testing depends entirely on the state in which their baby is born. These tests can sometimes mean the difference between a healthy start in life and disability, or even death, the March of Dimes says.

"The number of screened disorders continues to vary greatly by state. Here we have a simple and inexpensive solution to a potentially devastating problem, and it's time for all states to make newborn screening a top priority," says Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes and a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders and Genetic Diseases in Newborns and Children.

"Our chapter staff and volunteers have been working closely with governors, state legislators, and health departments to increase access to these important tests," Dr. Howse says. "I'm encouraged to report today that since this time last year, the number of states that test for the nine core metabolic disorders has risen from nine to 21."

Currently, 21 states screen for the March of Dimes-recommended list of metabolic disorders: Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. In 2002, these states accoun

Contact: Michele Kling
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation

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