Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene and Wisconsin Newborn Screening Program identify newborn disorders

Every newborn Wisconsin baby contributes a bloodspot from a small heel stick that is then tested at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH) on the UW–Madison campus. Bloodspots are tested for rare and potentially serious disorders that are not diagnosable through a standard physical exam. Laboratory testing is required to detect them.

Dr. Mei BakerSince 1978, more than 2.5 million Wisconsin babies have been screened by the system. Every year, 125–140 babies will be found carrying one of the serious disorders. In 1978, there were 10 disorders on the newborn screening panel. Today, using new technologies, lab technicians can test for 48 disorders.

Mei Baker, MD, professor, Division of Genetics and Metabolism, is WSLH’s newborn screening laboratory director. “Newborn screening is life-saving and life-changing,” Baker said. “It can help babies begin life healthy.”

The University of Wisconsin–Madison published “Newborn Screening Program on UW–Madison campus helps millions” on March 21, 2023. Read the article to learn more about WSLH and its collaborative partnership with the Wisconsin Newborn Screening Program.