Emergency preparedness for newborn screening and genetic services

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Abstract

Abstract.

Patients identified in newborn screening programs can be among the most vulnerable during a disaster due to their need to have prompt diagnosis and medical management. Recent disasters have challenged the ability of newborn screening programs to maintain the needed continuity during emergency situations. This has significant implications for the newborn screening laboratories, the diagnostic confirmation providers, and the patients who either require diagnosis or maintenance of their therapeutic interventions. In 2007, the National Coordinating Center (NCC) for the Regional Genetics and Newborn Screening Collaboratives (RCs) sponsored a meeting involving representatives of the Regional Genetics and Newborn Screening Collaborative Groups, state newborn screening programs, providers of diagnosis and confirmation services, manufacturers of equipment, medical foods, and other treatments used in patients identified in newborn screening programs, and individuals from agencies involved in disaster response including the National Disaster Medical Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and others. In addition to developing contingency plans for newborn screening, we have considered other uses of genetics as it is used in DNA-based kinship identification of mass casualties. The meeting resulted in the description of a wide range of issues facing newborn screening programs, provider groups, and patients for which emergency preparedness development is needed in order that appropriate response is enabled.

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