Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Top News

Birth defects: Experts alarmed by odd cluster of birth defects in Yakima, Wa.

See also

Birth defects centered around the city of Yakima, Wa. have experts scratching their heads – literally. The bizarre defects in birth are affecting several babies born around Yakima, a rural city located about 60 miles southeast of Mount Rainier in the state of Washington.

According to NBC News on Monday, health experts are stunned by an onset of anencephaly, a condition in which infants are born missing parts of their brain or skull.

As of January of last year, officials with the Washington state health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had tallied nearly two dozen cases over the course of a three-year period – more than four times the national average. And given the close proximity of the defective births – all in Yakima County – the coincidence factor is all but ruled out.

An additional “eight or nine” cases have now been reported, says Susie Ball of the Central Washington Genetics Program at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. “It does strike me as a lot,” says Ball.

Thirty-year nursing veteran Sara Barron agrees. Barron, who works at Prosser Memorial Hospital near the Yakima River, said she’d seen perhaps one or two cases of anencephaly over her career – until now.

“And now I was sitting at Prosser, with 30 deliveries a month and there’s two cases in a six-month period,” Barron said. “Then, I was talking to another doctor about it and she has a third one coming. My teeth dropped. It was like, ‘Oh my God.’”

Barron notified state health officials, who are now looking into the problem.

“This is bizarre,” Barron said. “This is a very, very small area.”

Officials at the Center for Disease Control however have yet to reach out to individual mothers – a decision that the CDC said they do not plan to change.

Mandy Stahre, the CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer based in Washington state, who led the inquiry, defending the CDC’s decision to say nothing to area mothers. “There were very few of us that could spend time doing this investigation,” Stahre said. “I’m not sure the women knew they were part of a cluster.”

Official word from the CDC is still that the unusual onset of anencephaly is nothing more than a coincidence. However, state officials are not convinced and are continuing their investigation.

Advertisement

News

  •  Day 17
    Israel continues their ravaging bombardment on Gaza as the conflict wages on
    Video
    Video
  • MH17 victims arrive home
    40 bodies of the MH17 plane crash return to a somber homecoming in Holland
    Top News
  • Military advisers to Ukraine
    President Obama announces the deployment of military advisers to Ukraine
    Politics
  • Bubonic plague in China
    A bubonic plague outbreak in Yumen prompts China to quarantine the city
    World News
  • Air Algierie disappearance
    A flight headed from Burkina Faso to Algeria disappears from radar over Mali
    Headlines
  • Windows Phone training portal
    Microsoft launches Windows Phone training portal in attempt to woo consumers
    Tech

Related Videos:

  • 232 teeth removed from teen's mouth in rare tumor condition
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518338813" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518338813&autoStart=true"></div>
  • Thousands support Bunch O Balloons, device that fills 100 water balloons at once
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/N-S5ObRlICQ?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Artificial Intelligence and the impact on future employment
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518318121" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518318121&autoStart=true"></div>