A cluster of newborns in Tennessee suffering from a bleeding disorder has been identified, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday in an emailed statement.
The infants suffered from bleeding resulting from a deficiency of Vitamin K, the agency reported. Parents of the babies had declined vitamin injections at birth.
”The newborns/ parents declined vitamin K injection at birth, mainly because they were unaware of the health benefits of vitamin K at birth” the CDC said.
Three newborns at a Nashville hospital were diagnosed with bleeding within the brain, the CDC said, while one suffered gastrointestinal bleeding.
“Not giving vitamin K at birth is an emerging trend that can have devastating outcomes for infants and their families,” the CDC said. “Ensuring that every newborn receives a Vitamin K injection at birth is critical to protect infants.”
“Fortunately all of the infants survived. It is important for health professionals to educate parents about the health benefits of vitamin K at birth.”
Vitamin K injections have been routine for more than 50 years.
“The late form of VKDB can develop in infants two weeks to 6 months of age who did not receive the vitamin K injection at birth and do not have enough vitamin K dependent proteins in their bodies to allow normal blood clotting,” the CDC said. “Untreated, this can cause bleeding in the brain, which may lead to neurological problems and can even be fatal. The risk for developing late VKDB has been estimated at 81 times greater among infants who do not receive a vitamin K injection at birth than in infants who do receive it.”
The Tennessee Department of Health assisted in the investigation, and the issue continues to be studied.
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