FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    Connecticut Department of Public Health

September 15, 2008                                         Contact:  William Gerrish

                                                                        (860) 509-7270


The Department of Public Health (DPH) is celebrating September as National Newborn Screening Awareness Month by urging residents to get informed about newborn screening, which can prevent serious complications of undiagnosed disorders in infants.


“A small blood sample from your newborn baby can provide for early identification of selected metabolic or genetic disorders, so that, if needed, follow-up and medical treatment can be promptly started to avoid serious complications, prevent irreversible problems and even death,” stated DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.


Connecticut State Law mandates that all babies born in Connecticut be screened for selected genetic and metabolic disorders.  Newborn screening in Connecticut started in 1964 with the familiar Phenylketonuria (PKU) screening test.  PKU is a condition that means the baby cannot break down certain proteins. Babies with the condition are at serious risk of suffering severe and irreversible brain damage and developmental delays.  Since 2000, National Newborn Screening Awareness Month brings attention to newborn screening and its detectable disorders.


“Most people still think newborn screening is just the traditional PKU test, but the present day program includes screening for over forty different conditions and is vital to protecting infant health,” said Dr. Galvin.  Today, infant-screening tests include metabolic, endocrine and hemoglobin conditions including PKU.  Infants with abnormal screening results are referred to designated State Regional Treatment Centers for comprehensive confirmation testing, counseling, education, treatment, and follow-up services.


To help ensure your baby has newborn screening results reported promptly:


ü  Choose a primary care provider or pediatrician before birth; make sure to give the hospital the doctor’s contact information.  This information will save time if your baby needs medical attention from a specialist.


ü  Make sure your phone number and address are up to date and provide the hospital with a name and phone number of an alternate contact person.


ü  Ask if the newborn screening was performed on your baby before you leave the hospital.


ü  Tell your nurse if your baby will have a different last name after your baby goes home.


ü  Ask for the results of your child’s newborn screening during your well baby checkup.  Asking this question will serve as a reminder to the doctor to review the results, and will help you to be proactive in your child’s health.

For more information about newborn screening and Connecticut’s Newborn Screening Program, visit the DPH web site at and click “Programs and Services” then click the “Newborn Genetic Screening” program link, or call (860) 509-8081.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state.  To contact the Department, please visit its website at or call (860) 509-7270.