Infant screening would be more comprehensive under new bill

Infant screening would be more comprehensive under new bill

February 16, 2010
Five new diseases would be added to the list of tests to be administered to infants born in New York state under a new bill being considered by the Legislature’s two health committees.

New York state’s Newborn Screening Program began in 1965, and for the past 45 years, newborns are tested for more than 40 disorders. Bill number (S.6656/A.9791) would add to the list of conditions screened for: Pompe Disease, Fabry disease, Niemann-Pick disease, Gaucher disease, and severe combined immunodeficiency disease.

For many of these disorders or conditions, a lack of early detection and treatment can cause mental retardation, abnormal physical development and a host of other problems, according to the bill’s justification.

“New parents in New York state should have the benefit of knowing that their infants are being tested for as many diseases as possible at birth,” said Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, sponsor of the bill. “A simple blood test can determine if a baby has one of these rare disorders, which can cause abnormal physical development, mental retardation or other problems if untreated.”

Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, D-Long Beach, is the bill’s sponsor in the Assembly. The bill was referred to the Senate Health Committee on Jan. 22 and the Assembly Health Committee on Jan. 28.

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