NORTH PLATTE, Nebraska – September is Newborn Screening Awareness Month, and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has many accomplishments to acknowledge.
According to Jillian Chance, Program Manager for Newborn Screening and Genetics for the Division of Public Health at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Nebraska is one of only 16 states that mandate testing for every disorder as recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This screening reveals approximately sixty infants each year in Nebraska who may have life-threatening diseases. The advantage of this testing is that it alerts parents to the presence of these issues and enables newborns to be treated before these abnormalities become severe.
Chance reported that as a result of this testing, they had recently identified the first case of Tyrosinemia Type 1 in Nebraska, a condition that can result in liver failure.
“This is the only example we’ve ever identified in Nebraska, and it’s extremely rare nationwide,” said Chance. This infant was able to be diagnosed extremely early on, and there is a brand-new treatment for this condition. She was able to get started and is currently prospering.”
Due to the strong support of the state government, Nebraska is able to do such comprehensive testing for these conditions.
North Platte’s state senator Mike Jacobson co-sponsored a bill to ensure that the state’s testing requirements remain rigorous.
Jacobson stated, “I’ve always been a firm believer in early prevention, and if you can discover and treat a problem early, you can frequently prevent it from becoming a larger issue later on.” It appears that newborn infants are an excellent approach to accomplish this.
All babies in Nebraska are required to undergo these tests, and all samples are discarded following testing.
This page contains additional information about the baby screening procedures in Nebraska.