CNN's Elizabeth Cohen investigates an alarming cluster of babies born with birth defects in rural Washington state.
Contact Mandy Stahre at the Environmental Public Health Call and Mail Mandy Stahre at the Washington State Department of Health
P.O. Box 47820 Olympia,
- Elizabeth Cohen, CNN senior medical correspondent: Yakima Valley, Washington, a horrible medical mystery has unfolded — An alarming rate of birth defects. Sara Barron, a nurse in the region and was the first to report cases of anencephaly, babies born with much of their brain and skull missing.
- Barron: “I was just stunned. 3 in a couple month period of time, that’s unheard of, and they’re such tragic, terrible outcomes.”
- Cohen: Barron’s shocking discovery prompted an investigation by the state health department, which showed that in 3 counties, in a 3 year period, there were 23 cases of anencephaly, a rate 4 times the national average. [...]
- Mandy Stahre, Washington State Health Department epidemiologist: “We have not found an answer, and that’s the very frustrating part because this is such a devastating diagnosis for a woman to have.” [...]
- Cohen: The state hasn’t spoken to any of the families who had the babies with birth defects. Not a single one. [...] that outrages Andrea Jackman [...]
- Andrea Jackman, baby born with spina bifida: “Nobody’s asked me anything. [...] What are you researching if you haven’t physically called the families to find out? What are you researching? [...] If it just happened to one person it could be random, but the fact that there’s so many different people that it’s happened to, there’s gotta be something that you can pinpoint that caused this.” [...]
- Stahre: “We’re still trying to find what may be causing these. Were still investigating this. We’re not ruling anything out at this point [...] We’re considering just about everything at this point. [...] I don’t think [pregnant women should be worried].”
- Cohen: But nurse Sara Barron isn’t so sure.
- Barron: “I think it’s very scary. I think there’s absolutely something going on that needs to be investigated more thoroughly.”