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Maryland newborns to be screened on four additional conditions

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Posted at 3:18 PM, Jun 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-17 16:37:13-04

BALTIMORE — The Maryland Department of Health announced on Monday that newborns will be screened for four additional conditions under Maryland's newborn screening program which helps identify rare conditions so treatment can begin immediately.

The additional conditions that will be tested for are Pompe disease, Fabry disease, Mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS I) and Spinal Muscular Atrophy(SMA). Newborn screening is performed by obtaining a few small drops of blood from the baby's heel. The screen looks for conditions that can occur because of problems with the body's hormones, inability to break down food correctly, certain kinds of blood disorders and other inherited conditions.

“Disorders on the newborn screening panel are selected because there is treatment available to prevent symptoms of the medical condition or to help make the symptoms less severe,” said Fran Phillips, MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health. “The goal is to identify babies while they are still healthy and make sure they receive specialized care as quickly as possible, if one of these disorders is detected or further testing is needed.”

While the screening does not diagnose conditions, it helps in identifying babies who need further testing.

Between June 2018 and May 2019, approximately 78,000 babies were screened and 240 of them were found to have one off the conditions included in the screening panel.