Maryland to Begin Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease

BALTIMORE (August 29, 2012) – On September 1, 2012, Maryland will begin newborn screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD).  There are many forms of congenital heart disease, but CCHD is any heart defect present at birth that can potentially cause serious illness or death in the first weeks of life if not diagnosed and treated. 
CCHD screening was added in 2011 to the federal Recommended Uniform Screening Panel, the list of items recommended by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to be included in newborn screening. Currently, New Jersey and Indiana are screening, with several more states planning to begin in the near future.
 
CCHD can often be identified prenatally by ultrasound, but at least 40 percent of cases are still missed.  Newborn screening involves the use of pulse oximetry, a painless test that involves wrapping one sensor around a baby’s hand and one around their foot to measure the saturation of oxygen in their blood.  The sensor uses light absorption to measure oxygen saturation, and the test takes only a few minutes. 
 
Approximately 140 infants are born in Maryland each year with CCHD.  Their heart condition is often diagnosed before birth or due to symptoms after birth.  However, there are infants who appear well at birth, but become critically ill over the first days and weeks of life as their circulation adapts to life outside the womb.
 
“Safeguarding the health of Maryland infants is a top priority for our state, and this simple screening will help accomplish this goal,” said Frances Phillips, Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services.
 
Newborn screening will not identify all cases of CCHD, but it will improve the detection rate when combined with a thorough physical examination.  The screening will also identify other causes of low oxygen saturation in the blood, such as infections or lung disease. All Maryland birthing hospitals will arrange for immediate follow-up evaluation of an infant with abnormal screening results. As with any screening test, some tests could result in false-positives, with reassuring findings on follow-up.
 
Educational webinars have been created for hospital and birthing center staff to provide recommendations and guidelines for screening.  Please visit the Office for Genetics and People with Special Health Care Needs CCHD screening website for more provider or parent information at http://fha.dhmh.maryland.gov/genetics/SitePages/CCHDScreeningProgram.aspx.  You can also contact the office by phone at 410-767-6730, or access our resource line at 1-800-638-8864 for information about health care resources.
 

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Thank you to all who came out for the 7th Annual Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk. So far this year's walkers have raised more than $33,000 to fund suicide prevention and awareness trainings, resources and projects. For more information on the walk or to donate visit: https://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.event&eventID=5531

 

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Fall into fitness this October and participate in the 6th Annual Making Strides for Awareness Fun Walk to be held at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, October 3 at Byrd Park in Snow Hill, Market Street. This is a free event co-sponsored by the Worcester County Health Department and the Town of Snow Hill. The first 50 registrants will receive a HOPE stadium cup. Registration begins at 5pm. Participants will have the opportunity to complete a ½ mile, 1-mile, or 2-mile walk.

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Public Health Officials Offer Food Safety Tips in Preparation of Potential Power Outages and Flooding Due to Hurricane Florence

(Salisbury, MD) - As Hurricane Florence begins to make way across the Eastern seaboard, health officials of Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties recommend the following food safety tips for residents to help them prepare now, should local power outages or flooding occur.

• Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. For more information on generator safety, visit here.

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Snow Hill, Md. – The Worcester County Health Department confirms that a kitten has tested positive for rabies on August 29, 2018 on Snow Hill Rd (Rt. 12) north of Girdletree. The kitten was a female gray, black and tan striped tabby that was roughly eight-weeks-old. Residents of the property near where the kitten was found did not own the animal and the owners are unknown at this time.

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Ocean City, MD- Take a deep breath, Worcester County; this month Maryland celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the Clean Indoor Air Act. Maryland’s Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in all indoor workplaces, including restaurants, bars, and clubs, to preserve and improve the health, comfort, and environment of residents by eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke.

For more information on the Clean Indoor Air Act, click here

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