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Jimenez Bill Would Expand Newborn Screening in New Jersey

Measure would include rare, potentially deadly diseases currently not screened for in the state

(WEST NEW YORK) – Noting the importance of early testing to detect and treat potentially fatal disorders in infants, Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D-Bergen/Hudson) is sponsoring legislation that would expand the types of disorders that newborns in the state are tested for.

“Parents should have the comfort that we are checking for any abnormalities that could hinder the healthy development of their children,” said Jimenez. “Many of these diseases can lead to lifelong impairments and even death, if not detected and treated early. This bill helps babies who are born with these rare disorders a chance to have healthy lives. What parent doesn’t want that for their child?”

Currently, newborns in New Jersey are tested for hypothyroidism, galactosemia and phenylketonuria. Under the bill (A-460), the list would be expanded to include:

  • cystic fibrosis, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, maple syrup urine disease, biotinidase deficiency and medium chain acy1 coa dehydrogenase deficiency;
  • sickle cell disease and other blood abnormalities as determined by the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services; and
  • homocystinuria and HIVseropositivity.

“The death of a child is always tragic, but especially when it was preventable. Screening for these disorders can help save lives. Early detection and proper treatment can help these babies lead normal, healthy lives. That’s reason enough to expand our screening program,” said Jimenez.

The bill has been introduced in the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee and awaits further consideration.