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Prevalence of Anencephaly by County, New Mexico, 2015-2019

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Prevalence of Anencephaly by County, New Mexico, 2015-2019

  • **The estimate has been suppressed because the number of events and population size are small and not appropriate for publication, or it could be used to calculate the number in a cell that has been suppressed.
  • #This count or rate is statistically unstable (RSE >0.30), and may fluctuate widely across time periods due to random variation (chance). Please use caution in interpreting this value, or combine years, areas, or age groups to increase the population size.
  • ##The estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and does not meet standards for reliability. A count or rate such as this should not be used to inform decisions. Try combining years, areas, or age groups to increase the population size.

Why Is This Important?

Birth defects pose a significant public health problem. One in 33 babies is born with a structural birth defect in the United States. Birth defects are a leading cause of infant mortality and are responsible for considerable morbidity and disability with enormous economic and social costs. Anencephaly is not compatible with life. Infants born with anencephaly die within a few days of birth. In 1992, the U.S. Public Health Service recommended that women of childbearing age increase consumption of the vitamin folic acid to reduce the number of spina bifida and anencephaly cases in the United States. By 1998, <30% of women were following this recommendation. In 2001, researchers from CDC determined that the overall birth prevalence of these two neural tube defects declined 19% after mandatory folic acid fortification.


Anencephaly means an infant is born without a skull, with cerebral hemispheres completely missing or reduced to small masses attached to the base of the skull. Prevalence of anencephaly is the number of live-born infants with anencephaly per 10,000 live-born infants. (Live-born infants are infants born with any evidence of life.) New Mexico live-born infants with anencephaly, 2015-2019.

Data Notes

The following International Classification of Diseases, 9th and 10th Revisions Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM) codes were used in 2015 to identify anencephaly: 740.0 - 740.1 and Q00.0-Q00.1, respectively. Only ICD-10-CM code was used from 2016-2019. In 1987, CDC put forth a set of 6-digit codes (the sixth digit provides greater specificity for diagnosis) based on the British Pediatric Association Classification of Diseases and the ICD-9-CM. If CDC/BPA codes are present, the following were used to identify anencephaly: 740.10.

Data Sources

  • Birth Defects Prevention and Surveillance System (BDPASS), New Mexico Department of Health.
  • Birth Certificate Data, Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics (BVRHS), Epidemiology and Response Division, New Mexico Department of Health.

How the Measure is Calculated

  • Numerator:

    Number of live-born infants with anencephaly
  • Denominator:

    Number of live-born infants

Data Issues

  • Birth Defects Prevention and Surveillance System (BDPASS)

    Birth defects are reported on the birth certificates, which are provided for all births occurring in-state as well as births to NM resident mothers who gave birth out-of-state. Some birth defects (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, Tetralogy of Fallot, Transposition of Great Arteries, Hypospadias, Lower and Upper Limb Deficiencies, and Trisomy 21) were not reported on birth certificates until 2004.

  • Birth Certificate Data

    Birth certificate information is submitted electronically by hospital medical records staff who use standard mother and facility worksheets and medical charts to collect the needed information. Training of hospital staff is provided by the Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics (BVRHS). The birth certificate information is reviewed by BVRHS for completeness and consistency with state law and NMDOH and national guidelines. BVRHS will contact hospital staff for clarification of missing, inconsistent or incorrect entries. CDC's National Center for Health Statistics provides feedback to BVRHS on data quality and the NMDOH provides feedback to the hospitals to improve data quality and training.

Health Topic Pages Related to: Birth Defects - Prevalence of Anencephaly per 10,000 Live Births

Indicator Data Last Updated On 03/03/2022, Published on 05/03/2022
Environmental Health Epidemiology Bureau, Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, Epidemiology and Response Division, New Mexico Department of Health, 1190 S. Saint Francis Drive, Suite 1300, Santa Fe, NM 87505, Srikanth Paladugu, Bureau Chief,, or Chelsea Langer, Environmental Epidemiologist Supervisor,