December 7, 2006
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is now testing “heel stick” blood samples from newborns for 26 disorders, with a 27th to be added early next year. Previously, newborns were screened for seven conditions.
“We are pleased to announce that the Newborn Screening Program expansion has begun and is now giving important clinical information to health care providers and families,” said Dr. Charles Bell, DSHS Acting Commissioner. “Early detection of these disorders allows early treatment that can prevent serious complications such as growth problems, developmental delays, deafness or blindness, mental retardation, seizures or early death.”
All babies born in Texas are required to have two rounds of screening tests for certain inheritable and other disorders. The Newborn Screening Program identifies those infants who have an abnormal screen at birth or shortly afterward. An abnormal laboratory result triggers follow-up and case management to contact the health care provider to take appropriate action.
House Bill 790, passed by the Texas Legislature in 2005, mandated that DSHS screen for additional disorders recommended by the American College of Medical Genetics as funding allows. DSHS receives about 760,000 newborn specimens annually.
Babies continue to receive hearing screenings as well.
Information about the DSHS Newborn Screening Program and the disorders covered are available online at www.dshs.state.tx.us/newborn/default.shtm.
(News media: for more information contact Emily Palmer, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-458-7400.)