FRIDAY, Jan. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Mandated neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) surveillance and reporting allows state health departments to quantify incidence and informs programs and services, according to research published in the Jan. 11 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Shahla M. Jilani, M.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues reviewed implementation of required NAS case reporting for public health surveillance in six states during 2013 to 2017, state officials’ reports of data quality before and after laws were passed, and advantages and challenges of legally mandating NAS reporting for public health surveillance in the absence of a national case definition. State health department officials were interviewed in each of the six states (Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia).

The researchers noted variability in the type and number of surveillance data elements reported and in how states used NAS surveillance data. Five states reported receiving NAS case reports within 30 days of diagnosis. Mandated NAS case reporting allowed state health departments to quantify the incidence of NAS in their states and also to inform services and programs.

“A standardized case definition for NAS and consistent reporting approaches will improve the ability to make meaningful comparisons between states and target prevention efforts to areas of greatest need,” the authors write.

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