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J Inherit Metab Dis. 2007 Aug;30(4):430-8. Epub 2007 Jul 6.

Neonatal screening in Europe; the situation in 2004.

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International Society for Neonatal Screening, National Institute for Public Health, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.

Erratum in

  • J Inherit Metab Dis. 2008 Jun;31(3):469.


This report outlines the status of neonatal screening in Europe in 2004. Out of the 45 member states of the Council of Europe plus the regions Scotland and Wales (in total 47 'countries'), no data at all were available from 3 (Albania, Azerbaijan and Georgia). From the other 44, varying amounts of data were received. Apart from Armenia, Finland and Malta, all countries have a national programme for phenylketonuria (PKU), although in some countries those programmes do not yet have 100% coverage. Moldova and Ukraine have no national programme for congenital hypothyroidism (CH), the other countries do. Twelve countries screen for congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), 6 for cystic fibrosis (CF) and 7 for galactosaemia (GAL), 6 for biotinidase deficiency (BD) and 4 for medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCAD). Some countries have pilot programmes for certain conditions or different programmes per screening laboratory. The prevalences for PKU vary from 1:3000 to 1:30,000, and for CH from 1:1300 to 1:13,000. Methodologies vary within and between countries. There appears to be no relationship between the cut-off limits and the recall rate. A first priority is to help those countries where the basic screening programmes have less than 100% coverage. In addition, continuous monitoring of the European programmes will help to decrease the variation in design and methodology by making use of the knowledge and expertise available from the global membership of the International Society for Neonatal Screening (ISNS). The huge difference of recall rates illustrate one obvious and important area for improvement of programme performances that could be aided by strengthened European cooperation.

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