Newborn Screening Expanded in Kansas

By: AP
By: AP

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas health officials have started screening the blood of all newborns for 29 potential disorders.

The state previously screened for just four disorders, fewer than almost every other state. Missouri tests for 63 disorders.

House Speaker Melvin Neufeld -- who pushed for the testing -- called the new law one of the most significant health policies in the last 20 years in Kansas. The law took effect July 1.

Kansas started screening newborns' blood for a protein disorder known as PKU in 1965. Sickle cell anemia and two other diosorders were added later, but Kansas became stagnant even as other states added more tests. Kansas lawmakers voted to expand the testing in 2007.

Kansas' list now includes only illnesses that can be treated effectively.

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The expanded testing for the 40,000 Kansas babies born each year costs the state about 2.5 million dollars, a bargain compared with the cost of late treatment.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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