- Health Fitness
- Screening for neonatal diseases buys valuable time to prevent disabilities in children
Untreated congenital metabolic disorders can cause irreversible damage to the brain and/or other organs, heel prick test resulting in significant mental retardation or other disabilities;
If diagnosed early in life and treated effectively, most children achieve normal levels of mental and physical development for their age.
Screening for neonatal diseases involves the collection of blood from newborns for laboratory testing in order to detect these diseases at an early stage and to gain valuable time for early treatment and prevention of childhood disabilities.
What kinds of diseases are screened for?
Five diseases are routinely screened for: congenital hypothyroidism, phenylketonuria, congenital adrenocortical hyperplasia, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (g-6-pd), and thalassemia.
How is the screening conducted?
Four blood spots are collected at the heel edge of the infant for 6 hours and sent to a neonatal screening center for testing.
If a suspected positive case is found in the test results, the new screening center will contact the parents in a timely manner for review. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, treatment will be administered accordingly.
Please watch for text messages and notifications from the new screening center within one month of the newborn's foot blood collection
The prognosis of the disease will be determined by the early or late treatment
The earlier the treatment, the better the prognosis. Congenital hypothyroidism and phenylketonuria are treated effectively within the first month of life and their intellectual development is rarely affected.
Those treated after the first year of life often have an IQ below 60 and are therefore in a state of severe or profound mental retardation.