Infants with Congenital Disorders Identified Through Newborn Screening - United States, 2015-2017

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Sep 11;69(36):1265-1268. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6936a6.


Newborn screening (NBS) identifies infants at risk for congenital disorders for which early intervention has been shown to improve outcomes (1). State public health programs are encouraged to screen for disorders on the national Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP), which increased from 29 disorders in 2005 to 35 in 2018.* The RUSP includes hearing loss (HL) and critical congenital heart defects, which can be detected through point-of-care screening, and 33 disorders detected through laboratory screening of dried blood spot (DBS) specimens. Numbers of cases for 33 disorders on the RUSP (32 DBS disorders and HL) reported by 50 U.S. state programs were tabulated. The three subtypes of sickle cell disease (SCD) listed as separate disorders on the RUSP (S,S disease; S,beta-thalassemia; and S,C disease) were combined for the current analysis, and the frequencies of the resulting disorders were calculated relative to annual births. During 2015-2017, the overall prevalence was 34.0 per 10,000 live births. Applying that frequency to 3,791,712 live births in 2018, approximately 12,900 infants are expected to be identified each year with one of the disorders included in the study. The most prevalent disorder is HL (16.5 per 10,000), and the most prevalent DBS disorders are primary congenital hypothyroidism (CH) (6.0 per 10,000), SCD (4.9 per 10,000), and cystic fibrosis (CF) (1.8 per 10,000). Notable changes in prevalence for each of these disorders have occurred since the previous estimates based on 2006 births (2). The number of infants identified at a national level highlights the effect that NBS programs are having on infant health through early detection, intervention, and potential improved health, regardless of geographic, racial/ethnic, or socioeconomic differences.

MeSH terms

  • Congenital Abnormalities / diagnosis*
  • Congenital Abnormalities / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Screening*
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology