Topeka— The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is proud to promote Newborn Screening Awareness Month in September. While most newborns look perfectly healthy, there are some diseases that aren't visible. Unless these diseases are identified and treated early, they can cause severe illness, mental retardation, or in some cases death. To test for these diseases, about 24 hours after birth, a baby's heel is pricked and a small sample of blood is collected by the hospital staff. This blood is then sent to the State public health laboratory where it is tested for several different diseases. If the test is abnormal, re-testing must be done to confirm a diagnosis.
Each September the Kansas Newborn Screening Program joins other screening programs nationwide in an effort to increase awareness of the importance of newborn screening. In FY11, the Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratories screened 40,699 infants born in Kansas for twenty-eight genetic disorders. The Newborn Screening Follow-up Program at KDHE worked with physicians to ensure every infant with an abnormal screen received additional screening and diagnostic testing.
“In FY 11, 67 infants were diagnosed with a disorder and received early medical intervention because of this program,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary. “These infants may now live full and productive lives due to early intervention and treatment. Just one blood-spot can save an infant’s life”
For more information about the Kansas Newborn Screening Program visit www.kdheks.gov/newborn_screening