Birth defects or congenital anomalies are one of the leading causes of infant death in the United States and account for approximately 19 percent of infant deaths in Ohio.
The Ohio Connections for Children with Special Needs (OCCSN) system is Ohio’s birth defects surveillance system. Initiated in early 2004, OCCSN collects birth defects information on babies and children from birth to age five. Birth defects or congenital anomalies are one of the leading causes of infant death in the United States and account for approximately 19 percent of infant deaths in Ohio. Nationally, birth defects are a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout childhood. Approximately three percent of babies are born with a birth defect. In Ohio, this is approximately 4,500 babies each year.
Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3701-57 Ohio Birth Defects Information System authorizes the Director of Health to require hospitals, physicians and freestanding birthing centers to report children from birth to five years of age with birth defects to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). All hospitals in the state began reporting in 2007.
Surveillance: Reportable Conditions and Reporting Methods
All hospitals in Ohio that treat children are required to report cases of children from birth to 5 years of age with specific birth defects to the birth defects surveillance system through a secure web-based application.
Reportable conditions include major congenital anomalies such as neural tube defects, oral facial clefts, cardiac disorders, and chromosome abnormalities such as Trisomy 13, 18, and 21, as well as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and certain genetic syndromes. Currently, 134 birthing, children’s, and small hospitals across the state report cases to ODH.
The OCCSN system utilizes passive case ascertainment whereby hospitals report data to the system after a child has an encounter at that facility. Hospitals may either submit an electronic file of bulk data or manually key in the data through secure web-based data entry screens. The reports are merged with the child’s birth certificate, which provides additional information. Collection of this data is important for public health action including identifying risk factors, targeting prevention strategies, and facilitating referrals to services such as early intervention.
Ohio Connections for Children with Special Needs (OCCSN)
246 N. High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215