Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the birth prevalence of genetic disorders among different racial/ethnic groups through population-based newborn screening data.
Methods: Between 7 July 2005 and 6 July 2010 newborns in California were screened for selected metabolic, endocrine, hemoglobin, and cystic fibrosis disorders using a blood sample collected via heel stick. The race and ethnicity of each newborn was self-reported by the mother at the time of specimen collection.
Results: Of 2,282,138 newborns screened, the overall disorder detection rate was 1 in 500 births. The disorder with the highest prevalence among all groups was primary congenital hypothyroidism (1 in 1,706 births). Birth prevalence for specific disorders varied widely among different racial/ethnic groups.
Conclusion: The California newborn screening data offer a unique opportunity to explore the birth prevalence of many genetic disorders across a wide spectrum of racial/ethnicity classifications. The data demonstrate that racial/ethnic subgroups of the California newborn population have very different patterns of heritable disease expression. Determining the birth prevalence of these disorders in California is a first step to understanding the short- and long-term medical and treatment needs faced by affected communities, especially those groups that are impacted by more severe disorders.