COMMENTS ON FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME RATES
Although the Program’s registry includes cases noted in medical records to have “fetal alcohol syndrome” or “fetal alcohol effects,” we don’t routinely report these rates. We feel they probably underestimate of the true impact of prenatal alcohol exposure for many reasons:
|Our registry includes only cases diagnosed during a hospital admission or genetics clinic visit; cases seen elsewhere will be missed.|
|Many clinicians do not suspect fetal alcohol syndrome until developmental delays become obvious, often after age 1—the limit for inclusion in our registry.|
|Diagnostic criteria vary among health practitioners, resulting in uneven case ascertainment.|
|Because the diagnosis is subjective, there may be bias in identifying babies with this condition.|
One source of more accurate data on fetal alcohol syndrome is FASSNet, a standardized multiple-source surveillance system supported by Centers for Disease Control.