WASHINGTON - The number of screening tests for infants has more than doubled.
Any infant born in Washington will be tested for 25 different potential problems or defects.
State Health Leaders said they have increased the number of tests because the earlier the problem is detected the better they can treat it.
In the past, infants born in Washington underwent 10 screening tests and by the end of this month there will be a total of 25.
A small blood sample is taken from the infants' heel then it is sent to a lab in Shoreline, Washington.
The babies are tested for a number of defects like blood disorders, lung problems, Cystic Fibrosis and Sickle Cell Disease.
State Health Officer Doctor Maxine Hayes said, "There's tragedy if indeed the child is born with something that we weren't about to intervene early enough to stop the negative effects."
Hayes said more screening can help find disorders that might go undetected until they cause permanent damage or death.
She said parents only receive notification if there is a problem.
For more information go to www.doh.wa.gov/ehsphl/phl/newborn/default.htm or www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/298_834.asp