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.
 

Substance Abuse Help

 

Zika Information

 

Rabies Information


     

WCHD News

As part of Pocomoke City’s 4th Friday on Sept. 27, the Worcester County Health Department will lead a free 1-mile fun walk through the historic downtown district. Registration begins at 5 pm and the walk starts at 5:30 pm.

Click the image below to register for the walk. 

Read more ...

The Out of the Darkness Suicide Awareness Walk. Movement of a quarter of a million people joined by local participants in Ocean City, MD.

Ocean City, MD − Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, yet suicide can be prevented. Volunteers from Worcester County are joining the quarter of a million people who are walking in towns across the United States to draw attention to the fight for suicide prevention. The 8th annual Out of the Darkness Walk, hosted by the Worcester County Health Department (WCHD) will be held on Saturday, September 21, 2019. As in years past, walkers will gather at Caroline Street and the Boardwalk, with registration beginning at 9am. After opening remarks, the procession will walk to the Inlet, turn and walk to 5th Street, then back to Caroline Street.

Read more ...

Worcester Health partners with Ocean City Fire Department on “Safe Station” project
Station offers 24/7 access to recovery services

Ocean City, MD- Where would you go if you needed help with addiction right now? The Worcester County Health Department, in partnership with the Town of Ocean City Fire Department, has launched a “Safe Station” in Ocean City at the 15th Street Fire Station for those seeking immediate help getting into recovery. The station is open 24-hours a day, 7 days a week for any individuals seeking treatment services.

Read more ...

In the event of a storm or power outage, it is important to know safety information about food storage and operating generators. Follow the links below for tips about food and generator safety.

Read more ...

(July 31, 2019 Snow Hill, MD) – The Worcester County Health Department received notification from the State of Maryland that a mosquito pool in the Whaleyville area of Worcester County recently tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). This is the first positive test for EEE in Worcester in 2019.

Arboviruses, such as the EEE virus, are most common during the summer and fall months. The viruses are transmitted by infected mosquitoes and spread to humans, birds, horses and other animals. Since mosquitoes can breed in as little as a quarter inch of water, eliminating standing water is critical for the control of mosquito populations. Many factors impact when and where outbreaks occur, such as weather, numbers of mosquitoes that spread the virus, and human behavior.

The Worcester and Wicomico County Health Department provides the following tips to help prevent contact with mosquitoes and reduce risk of infection with EEE or other mosquito borne illnesses:

Read more ...
 Lower Shore Health Insurance Assistance Program