The 65,600 children born in Portugal in the first ten months of the year, represent the lowest value ever for the same period, according to data from the Ricardo Jorge National Institute based on neonatal screening.

Until October 31, 2021, 65,637 newborns were screened under the National Neonatal Screening Program (PNRN), 6,082 less than the same period last year (71,719), according to data released by the National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA).

The greatest number of babies screened was observed in the districts of Lisbon (19,496) and Porto (12,182), followed by Setúbal (4,879) and Braga (4,821).

On the other hand, Bragança (421), Portalegre (490) and Guarda (519) were the districts with the fewest newborns studied.

Since 1979, the National Neonatal Screening Program, which covers almost all births, has been carrying out screening tests for some serious diseases in all newborns, the so-called “little foot test”.

The panel of screened diseases is made up of 26 pathologies: congenital hypothyroidism, cystic fibrosis and 24 hereditary metabolic diseases, the examination being carried out by collecting blood droplets from the child's foot.

The goal is to diagnose some serious diseases that are clinically difficult to identify in the first weeks of life, and which later on can cause severe neurological disorders, liver disorders or even coma situations.

The test must be carried out between the third and sixth day of the newborn's life, because before the third day the values ​​of existing markers in the baby's blood may have no diagnostic value, and after the sixth day some markers lose sensitivity.