The US Government has issued new national standards to assist states in supporting their newborn screening programmes with “the most up-to-date research, technology, laboratory and public health standards and practices.”

Newborn screening is crucial for preventing the consequences of certain metabolic, hormonal, genetic and/or functional disorders that are not clinically recognisable at birth.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, has approved the new national standards for newborn screening as recommended by the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children and authorised by the March of Dimes.

The March of Dimes has also worked with Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) on congressional approval and with Secretary Sebelius and others in the administration on implementation of the law.

The framework for national screening guidelines was provided by the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act passed in 2008.

To make sure that all babies are screened for life-threatening but treatable diseases, the March of Dimes called for a change or revision of the existing national standards.

All states and the District of Columbia were called to adopt the national standard of screening for at least 30 treatable conditions at birth to address the health needs of a mobile nation on uniform panels.

A list of screening tests to be done by each state will be available on the March of Dimes website at marchofdimes.com/peristats or at the National Newborn Screening and Genetics Resource Center website at genes-r-us.uthscsa.edu.