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How many infants are screened in the United States?

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Today, all 50 states; Washington, DC; and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have newborn screening programs, and nearly every child born in the United States or Puerto Rico is screened shortly after birth.1

  • All states require newborn screening for at least 26 health conditions. Each state’s public health department decides both the number and types of conditions on its testing panel.2 Most states allow parents to opt out for religious or other reasons.3
  • More than 4 million infants are born each year in the United States,4 and most of them are screened.
  • Most states report participation of 99.9% or higher. For example:
    • Maryland reported that during the last several years, fewer than five families opted out of newborn screening each year, although there have been approximately 75,000 births annually.3
    • In Wyoming, there were 6,800 infants born in 2007, but only two families opted out of screening.3

Disorders Identified

  • CDC data show that about 12,500 newborns per year are diagnosed with one of the 29 core conditions that are detected through newborn screening. This means that almost 1 out of every 300 newborns screened is eventually diagnosed.5
  • Early diagnosis and treatment in many cases can significantly improve the chances of healthy development and positive outcomes.

  1. Baby’s First Test. Conditions Screened by State. Retrieved August 23, 2012, from External Web Site Policy [top]
  2. Baby’s First Test. About newborn screening. Retrieved February 28, 2013, from External Web Site Policy [top]
  3. President’s Council on Bioethics. (2008). The changing moral focus of newborn screening: An ethical analysis by the President’s Council on Bioethics. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved February 28, 2013, from External Web Site Policy;[top]
  4. Martin, J. A., Hamilton, B. E., Ventura, S. J., Osterman, M. J. K., Kirmeyer, S., Mathews, T. J., & Wilson, E. C. (2011). Births: final data for 2009. National Vital Statistics Reports, 60(1), 1-71. [top]
  5. CDC. (2012). CDC Grand Rounds: newborn screening and improved outcomes. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 61(21), 390-393. Retrieved April 16, 2013, from [top]

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