Are Birth Defects More Prevalent Along the Texas-Mexico Border?

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Journal of Abstract Article - November 2007

 

By Peter H. Langlois, PhD; Mark A. Canfield, PhD; and Lucina Suarez, PhD

The objective of this descriptive epidemiologic study was to determine if the prevalence of birth defects in Texas is higher along the border with Mexico. We used statewide Texas Birth Defects Registry data from Hispanic deliveries from 1999 through 2002. Birth prevalence ratios were calculated to compare border and nonborder occurrence of 165 birth defects as well as of "any monitored birth defect." Poisson regression was used to calculate the prevalence ratio (PR) and its 95% confidence interval (CI) and to adjust for potential confounders. Cases of "any birth defect" were 7% less prevalent among border Hispanics than among Hispanics living elsewhere; the PR was 0.93 (95% CI 0.91-0.96). The adjusted PR was 1.01. Isolated cases were more prevalent in border areas (unadjusted PR = 1.07, 95% CI = 1.03-1.11), but severe cases (which should be less susceptible to detection bias) were less prevalent (unadjusted PR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.83-0.93). In the crude analysis of 165 birth defects, 2 defects were both strongly and significantly more prevalent in border areas and 26 were less prevalent. Analysis of severe cases showed 3 defects were more prevalent and 19 were less prevalent. We concluded that whether based on the analysis of "any birth defect" or counting numbers of specific defects, birth defects in Texas are not more prevalent along the border with Mexico.

 

 

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