The Washington State Department of Health is bolstering its Newborn Screening Program, testing for additional disorders with the goal of helping more infants get treatment early in life.
The testing, conducted using a dried blood spot collected from a baby’s heel, now screens for 29 conditions. About 200 infants each year have a disorder diagnosed due to the state’s testing. A remodel and expansion of the department’s laboratory space has allowed for additional testing.
The state will now test for X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy, which affects the nervous system and adrenal glands. This summer, it will also begin second tier testing for cystic fibrosis. It also plans to add tests for mucopolysaccharidosis type I and Pompe disease, and it’s looking into testing for spinal muscular atrophy.
Funding for the X-ALD testing equipment was provided in part by the Ethan Zakes Foundation.
“We save lives by testing all babies born in Washington for these rare congenitaldisorders, which can quickly lead to death or long-term disability if not rapidly identified,” Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman said in a statement.