NEWBORN SCREENING

Every year, 12,000 babies and their families benefit from newborn screening through the early detection of disease and the delivery of life-saving treatments. Newborn screening is widely recognized as one of the largest and most successful disease prevention programs in the history of the U.S. Newborn screening is an essential public health service that is important for families to understand. Although nearly all babies born in the U.S every year receive newborn screening, only about two out of three people are aware of newborn screening and only about one out of three people can correctly identify a definition of newborn screening.

Our partners at Expecting Health created a free educational module for families called Navigate Newborn Screening. In this short module, you will learn about the newborn screening process, questions to ask your healthcare provider, and more!

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ACCESS THE NAVIGATE NEWBORN SCREENING MODULE

Key Name: E.WE Foundation

Alabama Newborn Screening Program

The Alabama Newborn Screening Program ensures that state laws, rules, and regulations mandating newborn screening are followed. The program establishes protocol to ensure early identification and follow-up of infants affected with certain genetic or metabolic conditions. Early diagnosis reduces morbidity, premature death, intellectual disability, and other developmental disabilities. The program works in partnership with pediatric specialists throughout the state to ensure all babies identified with abnormal results receive appropriate follow-up. The program also seeks to expand relationships with other health professionals in the state, including hospitals and pediatricians, to enhance existing services and assure objectives are met.

The Alabama Bureau of Clinical Laboratories (BCL) is the sole provider for blood analysis of newborn screening in Alabama. The BCL screens approximately 60,000 babies each year, and approximately 150,000 specimens are sent to the lab each year for testing. The Alabama Newborn Screening Program identifies 150-200 babies each year with a metabolic, endocrine, hematological, or other congenital disorder. These babies usually look and act healthy at birth. Most affected babies have the opportunity to grow up healthy and develop normally through a simple blood screen that saves babies from death and disability.

Infant Mortality

Infant mortality is the death of an infant before his or her first birthday. The infant mortality rate is the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. In 2019, the infant mortality rate in the United States was 5.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.

In 2018, almost 21,000 infants died in the United States. Infant mortality rates by race and ethnicity were as follows:

  • Non-Hispanic black: 10.8
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander: 9.4
  • American Indian/Alaska Native: 8.2
  • Hispanic: 4.9
  • Non-Hispanic white: 4.6
  • Asian: 3.6

The five leading causes of infant death in 2018 were:

  1. Birth defects.
  2. Preterm birth and low birth weight.
  3. Injuries (e.g., suffocation).
  4. Sudden infant death syndrome.
  5. Maternal pregnancy complications.

Source: EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases, www.everylifefoundation.org | Expecting Health, www.expectinghealth.org | Alabama Public Health, www.alabamapublichealth.gov | Infant Mortality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov