Mississippi Birth Defects Surveillance Registry

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What is the Mississippi law pertaining to birth defects?

Section 41-21-205 of the Mississippi Code established a birth defects surveillance registry in the Mississippi State Department of Health. The law authorizes the Mississippi State Department of Health to adopt rules to govern the operation of the registry program. The Department of Health specifies the type of information to be provided to the birth defects registry and the persons and entities who are required to provide such information to the Birth Defects Surveillance Registry.

Who should report to the Birth Defects Surveillance Registry?

All hospitals, clinics, and other health facility personnel that serve patients (newborn to 21 years of age) should report to the Mississippi Birth Defects Surveillance Registry. The physician must report every birth defect case the first time the patient is seen for individuals born on or after January 1, 2000.

What are birth defects?

Birth defects are an abnormality of structure, function, or metabolism whether genetically caused or a result of outside factors during a child’s developmental or fetal life. A birth defect may be present from the time of conception or birth, or may become evident later in the child’s life.

How common are birth defects?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), birth defects affect 1 in 33 babies and are a leading cause of infant mortality in the United States.

What are the causes of birth defects?

The causes for many birth defects are uncertain. However, environmental factors, medications, diet habits and personal behaviors have been identified as possible contributors to these defects. While much is still unknown concerning the causes of birth defects, there is a growing amount of information regarding the measures that can be used to prevent them.

What are the objectives of the Birth Defects Surveillance Registry?

  • To monitor, regularly and systematically, the births of children with defects for changes in incidence or other unusual patterns suggesting preventable causes.
  • To ensure that children identified with birth defects are referred to services and their health and developmental outcomes are assessed periodically.
  • To increase reporting to the registry to ensure long term follow up and delivery of services.

What is the focus for the Birth Defects Surveillance Registry?

The Birth Defects Surveillance Registry focuses primarily on collecting information on live births and stillbirths in the state. The monitoring of birth defects will require additional data to be collected (Active Surveillance).

How to submit monthly reports?

Birth defects can be reported using the Genetics Reporting Portal which is found at https://resultsportal.perkinelmergenetics.com/MS_Genetics_Reporting.aspx.

Once logged into the portal, find the infant/child by name and birthdate (if applicable). After the infant/child is found select the birth defects tab to enter the birth defect.

If the child is not found, you may select create new form. Enter the child's information then select the birth defects tab.

If there are no birth defects cases to report, select create new form. Next, select the birth defects tab then check the no birth defects box and enter the month and year (example 9/2019).

How to receive access to the Genetics Reporting Portal?

To receive access to the Genetics Reporting Portal please contact:

Mississippi State Department of Health
Genetic Services/Birth Defects Surveillance Registry
P.O. Box 1700
Jackson, MS 39215
Phone: 601-576-7619
Fax: 601-576-7498

What is Active Birth Defects Surveillance and why is it needed?

An approach to case identification based on finding and confirming potential birth defects cases through data sources and systematic investigations of pertinent sources of information to identify potential cases of birth defects. Data collection sites include hospital medical records, diagnostic indices, unit logs, pathology departments, and specialty sites. The purpose is rapid (real-time) population-based surveillance of birth defects.

What will be needed for Active Birth Defects Surveillance?

There is very specific information that is needed and will require direct access to medical records in order to complete forms in their entirety. These abstractions will need to be conducted weekly, or biweekly, on infants that meet case inclusion criteria. While the aforementioned method is preferable, if your facility is unable to provide direct access to these medical records, the department of health will place weekly calls in order to have the information sent.

How will birth defects surveillance be enhanced and what can I expect?

Birth Defects Registry staff will place weekly or biweekly calls to all birthing facilities to determine if there are any infants born that meet case inclusion criteria. If there are births that meet the inclusion criteria, the BDR staff will provide a date and time to visit the facility to abstract and collect data from medical records.

What will need to be provided?

Once permission to access medical records has been granted, if computer access is provided, the abstractor will need a computer to access the records in a private area in order to document case findings.


For more information about birth defects or the Birth Defects Registry, contact Genetic Services at  601-576-7619, or get in touch with your local health department.

Last reviewed on Mar 23, 2023 request edits

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Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866‑HLTHY4U Contact and information

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