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

ted for about 1.3 million of the approximately 4 million live births in the U.S. "This means that only about 32 percent of the babies born in this country are receiving the recommended screening," Dr. Howse says.

Fourteen states, plus the District of Columbia, currently offer tests for six to eight of the conditions on the March of Dimes list. Another fifteen states, plus Puerto Rico, currently offer tests for only five or fewer conditions. Nine states (Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming) have authorized expanded newborn screening, but testing currently is not being implemented.

Another seven -- Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Dakota -- are testing only selected populations within the state or are running pilot programs that do not include all babies.

Although most states have approved screening for hearing deficiency, seven states currently do not ensure that at least 90 percent of babies actually get tested, the March of Dimes says.

Dr. Howse says the March of Dimes urges Congress to provide $25 million to fund Title 26 of the Children's Health Act of 2000 to help improve and strengthen state newborn screening programs.

The metabolic disorders on the recommended list for screening are: phenylketonuria (PKU); congenital hypothyroidism; congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH); biotinidase deficiency; maple syrup urine disease; galactosemia; homocystinuria; sickle cell anemia; and medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency. The March of Dimes and the American Academy of Pediatrics also advise a test for hearing deficiency for all newborns.

Newborn screening is done by testing a few drops of blood, usually from a newborn's heel, before hospital discharge. If a result is positive, the infant will usually be re-tested and given treatment as soon as possible, before becoming seriously ill from the diseas

Contact: Michele Kling
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation

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