No Cause Found for Increase in Anencephalic Births

Anencephaly is a rare and fatal birth defect, in which the baby is born with an incomplete skull or brain. Typically one out of 10,000 babies is born with the defect. However, Washington’s Department of Health reported that, in three counties in south central Washington, approximately eight out of 10,000 babies have been born with anencephaly. State officials examined the medical records for these cases, dating from January of 2010 to January of 2013, but could not find a causal link. It is possible that the medical records examined could lack crucial information, or that the number of cases may not be large enough to identify the cause at this time. The officials examined factors such as the mother’s health habits, both before and during pregnancy, and whether the mother resided in an area with a public water supply or private sources.

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