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Sexually transmitted disease, urinary tract infections may be bad combination for birth defect
Date:6/20/2008

SALT LAKE CITY -- Women who reported having both a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and urinary tract infection (UTI) just before or during early pregnancy were four times more likely to have babies with gastroschisisa severe birth defect in which infants are born with their intestines and other internal organs outside the abdomen, University of Utah researchers report in the online British Medical Journal.

The study, which the researchers caution must be verified with further investigation, may explain in part a global increase in gastroschisis, according to lead investigator Marcia L. Feldkamp, Ph.D., P.A., assistant professor of pediatrics at the U School of Medicine and director of the Utah Birth Defect Network. The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Utah Birth Defect Network were partners in the study.

"Gastroschisis is a public health issue worldwide, and the prevalence is on the rise in Utah," Feldkamp said. "We don't understand why this is occurring. But the incidence of STDs is also increasing and there may be a connection."

A study conducted by others in Utah found a tenfold increase in gastroschisis from 1971-2002, according to Feldkamp.

The causes and mechanisms of gastroschisis are not known, but researchers suspect environmental and maternal factors may be related to the birth defect. The age of a woman giving birth also appears to play a strong role: women less than 20 years old are 11 times more likely to have babies with gastroschisis than women older than 25.

Nationally, one in every 2,700 babies is born with gastroschisis. In Utah, the birth defect may occur more oftenonce in every 2,200 births, according to Feldkamp. The prevalence of gastroschisis is estimated at about one in 570 births in Utah when the mother is less than 20 years old.

Feldkamp and colleagues from the Univ
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Contact: Phil Sahm
Phil.Sahm@hsc.utah.edu
801-581-2517
University of Utah Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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