Tag Archives: DHEC

Newborn Screening Awareness Month: Our Best Foot Forward

Newborn Staff Blog Photo 1

Newborn Screening and First Sound/Hearing Screening Program Staff
(Left to right): Tanya Spells, MS, MT(ASCP) Newborn Screening Program Manager, Tara Carroll, MCD, CCC/A First Sound Program Manager, Jyotsna Achanta, First Sound Program Data Manager, Dr. Eileen Walsh, Pediatric Medical Consultant, Janice Eichelberger, First Sound Program Coordinator, Dana Smith, R.N. Newborn Screening Follow Up Program Coordinator, Jennifer Schlub, RD, LD, Nutritionist IV                  

We celebrate Newborn Screening Awareness Month each September as more than just a casual observance. Screening babies for certain serious health conditions at birth is critical.

Identifying babies with potential health conditions at birth makes it possible to begin early intervention and/or treatment before harmful effects happen. Newborn Screening includes testing for inherited disorders, hearing loss and congenital heart defects.

Newborn screening in South Carolina

In South Carolina, we screen nearly 57,000 babies each year. So far in 2017, the newborn bloodspot screening program has identified 76 infants with inherited disorders and 28 cases of Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) have been reported by SC hospitals. Annually, 75-100 infants are identified with some form of hearing loss.  

The newborn screen originally began testing for just one disorder, Phenylketonuria (PKU). The South Carolina newborn screening test panel now includes 53 different disorders, such as Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell disease and trait, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), Congenital Hypothyroidism, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, hearing loss, (CCHD), and multiple Inborn Errors of Metabolism. For a complete list and description please visit babysfirsttest.org/newborn-screening/states/south-carolina.

You may wonder how South Carolina came to screen for these disorders. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children (ACHDNC) uses an evidence-based process to evaluate specific disorders for addition to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP).  Most US newborn screening programs follow the RUSP in determining the conditions for which infants are screened.

The programs that conduct the screenings

The Newborn Hearing Program, First Sound, assesses infants to detect hearing loss and every birthing hospital in the state checks infants for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) to ensure newborns’ hearts are healthy.

The Newborn Screening Blood Spot Program (NBS) screens infants for inherited disorders via a panel of laboratory tests. A few drops of blood are collected 24-48 hours after birth by pricking an infant’s heel. Once the sample is collected, it is sent to the DHEC Public Health Laboratory, Newborn Screening section for testing. The NBS laboratory receives approximately 1,200 specimens each week.  The NBS Blood Spot Program operates six days a week, Monday-Saturday, most weeks of the year.

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Public Health Newborn Screening Laboratory Director, Supervisor, and Staff

The Newborn Screening Lab has a group of laboratory technologists that performs the screening tests. Testing is initiated the day the specimen is received and most testing is completed within two days. The laboratory mails a final laboratory report for normal and abnormal test results to the individual or facility who submitted the specimen and to the physician of record. Any abnormal result is repeated for verification before follow-up staff is notified.

The Newborn Screening Program staff work closely with the pediatric medical consultant, primary healthcare providers, medical specialists and health departments around the state. Providers are notified of abnormal results by follow-up staff to ensure infants are getting the care required for the specific disorder which they screen positive. These patients are followed until a diagnosis is made by either the primary care provider or specialist to whom they are referred.

New disorders under consideration for addition to our test panel are Pompe Disease, Mucopolysaccharidosis Type 1 (MPS 1) and X-linked Adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD).

For more information

Keep up with current newborn screening initiatives in our quarterly newsletter, Footnotes. For more information about newborn screening in South Carolina, contact us at newbornscreening@dhec.sc.gov.

DHEC in the News: West Nile, flu shots

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

11 Cases of West Nile in S.C.

There have been 11 cases of West Nile virus in South Carolina, including two in Rock Hill.  South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control officials have now set mosquito traps for further testing within a two-mile area.

General Interest

CDC recommends getting flu shots early

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With the fall months quickly approaching, the Centers for Disease Control has made the recommendation for people in all age groups to get their flu shots early this year.

According to the CDC, a study was conducted this year which showed that the flu vaccination significantly reduced a child’s risk of dying from influenza.

Rid Your Property Of Standing Water To Combat Mosquitoes

Standing water caused by rain and flooding can be prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which can spread harmful diseases such as West Nile, Zika and more.

Be sure to inspect areas around your homes and businesses and take to reduce mosquito populations and lessen the chance of you or others being exposed to these pesky, and potentially harmful, insects.

Below are some steps you can take to rid areas of mosquito breeding grounds.

Eliminate places where mosquitoes breed

One of the most important steps in controlling mosquitoes is to identify all of the places where water can accumulate on your property and eliminate them as possible breeding grounds.

  • Empty and turn over containers that hold water such as cans, jars, drums, bottles, flower pots, buckets, children’s toys, wheel barrows, old appliances, plastic sheeting or tarps used to cover objects like grills or swimming pools, etc.
  • Remove debris from gutters.
  • Clear out weeds, leaves, dirt and other debris from pipes, especially those under a driveway. Make sure water does not stand inside or near the ends of the pipe.
  • Clean out rain gutters and downspouts regularly.
  • Drain or fill any low places, such as potholes, on your property where water collects and stands for more than five to seven days.
  • Make sure that all permanent water containers such as wells, septic tanks, cisterns, water tanks and cesspools are tightly covered and insect-proof.
  • Fix leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.
  • Cover trash containers/garbage cans to keep rainwater from accumulating.
  • Keep boats and canoes drained and covered/overturned.
  • Drain or get rid of old tires by recycling them.
  • Pack tree holes and hollow stumps with sand or cement.

Avoid mosquito bites and possible exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses.

  • Apply EPA-approved insect repellent to protect you during time spent outdoors.
  • Repair damaged or broken doors and screens.
  • Wear light-colored clothes with long sleeves and long pants.
  • Close garage doors at night.

If you have mosquito problems in your area, visit DHEC’s mosquito information page and click on “Local Mosquito Control” in the menu box for a list of local mosquito control agency contacts.

Learn more about eliminating mosquito breeding sites and preventing mosquito bites at the DHEC website.

DHEC in the News: Lake Busbee, West Nile, Hurricane Hugo

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

 Santee Cooper says it won’t maintain Lake Busbee much longer, even with its uncertain fate

Conway, S.C. (WPDE) — People in Conway, and across the area, are concerned about the future of Lake Busbee.

Some Conway residents said during a meeting on Monday that Santee Cooper needs to do something about the hazards recently reported by the South Carolina Department of Environmental and Control (DHEC).

But, Santee Cooper spokesperson Susan Mungo says the company never agreed to address those issues if someone like the City of Conway was to take control of the man-made lake.

11 cases of West Nile in SC, 1 death in Upstate, DHEC says

GREENVILLE, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has confirmed eleven human cases of West Nile virus in South Carolina so far this year.

One of the eleven, an individual in Anderson County, died last month. The other human cases were in Beaufort, Greenville, Horry, Richland, Union, and York counties.

General Interest

Lessons learned from Hurricane Hugo 28 years ago still help with today’s storm preparations

As Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc in the Caribbean earlier this month, Keri Wilson kept a close eye on her Folly Beach neighbors.

“When it comes to hurricanes, I don’t mess around,” she said. “I lived through Hugo, but most of my neighbors weren’t here then and some of them weren’t even born yet.”

Thursday marks the 28th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo, which slammed into the South Carolina coast as a Category 4 hurricane overnight on Sept. 21, 1989.

DHEC in the News: West Nile, prescription drug arrest, Irma impact

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Second West Nile virus case confirmed in Rock Hill resident

A second case of West Nile virus has been confirmed in a Rock Hill resident, according to York County Emergency Management. …

To prevent mosquito exposure, the health department recommends residents …

Myrtle Beach dental assistant charged with obtaining prescription drugs illegally while on the job

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A dental assistant was arrested Monday for allegedly obtaining prescription sedatives unlawfully while on the job.

According to online records from the J. Reuben Long Detention Center, Kathleen Capra, 48, was charged with theft of controlled substances.

General Interest

Irma spurs resurgence in allergy season, mosquito breeding

SOUTH CAROLINA (WSAV) – It’s been just over a week since Irma hit the Lowcountry, but many are left dealing with health concerns and irritants from the storm.

Dr. Jaime Lagos says Irma has left a trifecta of troubles for some allergy sufferers.

“The weed pollen has been stirred up to very large levels, and therefore they’re getting a lot more weed pollen,” Dr. Lagos says, “And on top of that, we have a lot more moisture which is causing the mold spores to reproduce at much higher levels.”

Add that to elm pollen, and it can make any post-storm cleanup unbearable.

Mosquitoes are another irritant causing issues after the storm.