OBJECTIVE. The Louisiana Office of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assessed the extent to which newborn screening was disrupted from August 15 to September 21, 2005, the immediate period before and after Hurricane Katrina.

METHODS. A list of hospitals with labor and delivery services was obtained from the Louisiana Hospital Association. A survey sent to hospitals on October 17, 2005, asked about the number of live births during the assessment period, disruption in hospital services, the number of specimens sent to alternative laboratories, and the number of children without screening results.

RESULTS. Among 64 Louisiana hospitals with labor and delivery units, 6 remained closed at the time of the survey. Of the 58 open hospitals, 53 (91.4%) completed the questionnaire. Twenty-one (36.2%) of 58 hospitals experienced disruption of newborn screening services. Respondents from 31 (58.5%) of the 53 open hospitals acknowledged receiving the advisory from the Office of Public Health regarding resumption of newborn screening laboratory services. Hospitals stated that of 5958 specimens submitted, reports had not been received for 1207 (20.3%) newborns. The Office of Public Health laboratory reviewed the names of 2828 newborns received from hospitals and determined that no specimen was received within 14 days of collection for 631 (22.3%). Thirty percent of the specimens received from infants who were born between August 15 and September 21 were rejected as a result of having been received >14 days after collection. Ten children had confirmed positive screening results during the assessment period; all were located, and treatment was initiated.

CONCLUSIONS. Collaboration between the Office of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was essential to increase awareness of changes in laboratory procedures after the hurricane and to help identify infants who might be in need of screening or rescreening.

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