(Hover over – or tap on – each state to see how many diseases are included on their NBS tests)
September is Newborn Screening Awareness month so we will be providing information throughout the month about Newborn Screening (NBS).
Here’s a brief introduction:
Newborn Screening is a crucial component of ensuring the health of all newborns, yet many parents have no idea what is being done when the test happens.
Newborn Screening (NBS) happens between 24-48 hours of birth and it involves the pricking of the baby’s heel in order to apply blood to special paper (filter paper). The blood is used to test for treatable conditions – conditions for which timing is everything.
Did you know that each state screens for a different number of diseases?
I created the interactive map above to visually demonstrate the discrepancy from state to state, or you can see the chart below. I obtained all of this data from babysfirsttest.org on August 31, 2019.
|State Name||Number of Diseases Screened|
|District of Columbia||62|
According to BabysFirstTest.org there are 80 treatable conditions that could be screened for at birth, but no state screens for all 80. Visit their site to learn more about what diseases are included on your state’s NBS.
This means that your ZIP code determines life or death if you are born with one of these screenable/treatable diseases.
Where you live should not decide whether you live or whether you die. – U2
There is a national panel called the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel, or the RUSP, and there are currently 35 diseases on the RUSP. Many states screen for all of these diseases but not all.
As you can see, there’s a lot of work to be done in the realm of Newborn Screening to ensure that every child is screened equally for all diseases, including Krabbe. One thing you can do is contact your legislators to ask them to take NBS seriously and work on increasing your state’s screening panel.
Comment below with any questions, comments, etc. Do you remember when your child was screened? Did you know what was happening?