The Texas Birth Defects Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch (BDES) encompasses two major components: the Texas Birth Defects Registry and the CDC-funded Texas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention. BDES is one of the nation’s leaders of birth defects tracking and research. The branch also conducts cluster investigations, responds to inquiries from the public, and performs selected education and outreach activities with affected families. BDES collaborates with researchers in finding causes of birth defects and working towards prevention. Our mission is "To protect and to promote the health of the people of this State, the Texas Birth Defects Monitoring Divisions will identify and describe patterns of birth defects in Texas and collaborate with others in finding causes of birth defects, working towards prevention, and linking families with services."
>>learn more about cluster investigations
How it All Started
BDES was established in 1993 as the result of an unusual cluster of anencephaly cases (a type of neural tube defect) that occurred in Brownsville, Texas. Epidemiologic investigations revealed a higher than expected rate of neural tube defects among children born to Hispanic mothers living in South Texas. In recognition that epidemiologic resources are routinely needed to investigate birth defects clusters, the Texas State Legislature passed the Texas Birth Defects Act in 1993, which authorized the establishment of BDES.
The Birth Defects Registry
In order to respond to community concerns about excess occurrence of birth defects, the Texas Birth Defects Registry was established to identify and describe the patterns of birth defects in Texas through operation of a population-based, active surveillance system which is now statewide. Through multiple sources of information, the Registry monitors all births in Texas (approximately 400,000 each year) and identifies cases of birth defects.
The Texas Center
The Texas Center is in a unique position to contribute to our understanding of what causes birth defects, especially because of the 1200-mile shared border with Mexico. Health disparities between Texans living along the border with Mexico and those living in non-border areas have long been a concern for public health officials, as well as for those who live and work in the border counties. Since 1997, the Texas Center has contributed information about birth defects cases as well as from healthy “control” families in border counties to the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS). In addition to participating in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, the Texas Center funds and collaborates in local research projects.
>>Learn more about the Research Center.
For more information, contact:
Birth Defects Epidemiology & Surveillance
Texas Department of State Health Services
Mail Code 1964
P.O. Box 149347
Phone 512-776-7232, 1-888-963-7111
We Appreciate Your Support
This program has been funded in part by the Office of Title V & Family Health, Texas Department of State Health Services, using Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Funds.
Through the efforts of the March of Dimes, Texas Chapter, you can purchase a special Texas license plate to help support birth defects surveillance in the state. Through your donations, we can ensure every plate purchased helps in the fight against birth defects and gives every baby the chance at a healthy start in life. As always, we appreciate March of Dimes for their continued support.
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