New parents want to know early on if their baby has a serious health problem.
And in Maryland, the list of rare health conditions that newborns are screened for just got longer.
The state’s newborn screening program has been expanded to include four additional health conditions:
- Fabry disease
- Mucopolysaccharidosis type 1 (MPS 1)
- Pompe disease
- Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)
These conditions were added because treatments are available for each that can either prevent or reduce symptoms.
The screening actually involves two tests. When a baby is born in a Maryland hospital, blood is taken from the child’s heel about 24 hours after birth. Then, when the baby is about two weeks old, more blood is collected in a doctor’s office. Each time, the blood is sent to a state lab.
According to Maryland’s Department of Health, the total number of conditions babies are screened for is now up to 61, one of the five largest state totals in the nation.