Officials wait as state investigates prenatal defects |

Officials wait as state investigates prenatal defects

Heidi Rice
Post Independent Contributor

GARFIELD COUNTY — Health providers around the county are in stand-by mode as they wait to hear the results of an investigation by a state epidemiologist looking into a reported rise in the number of fetal anomalies among pregnant women in the county.

Valley View Hospital last week confirmed that they had received information from a prenatal care clinic and that the fetal anomalies were being seen in pregnant women from Carbondale to Rifle. However, the hospital declined to disclose any specific types of birth defects, a time frame or by how much the number may have increased.

They turned over the information to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which is investigating the issue.

Mark Salley, a CDPHE spokesperson, said Tuesday afternoon the matter is being investigated and that “nothing has changed” since the initial report.

“The results of the investigation could take several weeks,” Salley said. “And until that time, we don’t have anything else [to share].”

Grand River Hospital District said that while they are concerned about the health and well-being of their communities, they could not comment as they do not offer obstetrical services.

Garfield County Public Health is also waiting to hear the results of the investigation before making any comment.

“There is no evidence for us to notify the community of any health concern,” said Renelle Lott, chief communications officer for Garfield County. “We’re just waiting for the results of the report like everyone else.”

Hospital officials at St. Mary’s in Grand Junction had not received any information about any cases and had no other comment.

A spokesperson for Aspen Valley Hospital said the hospital has no record of a recent rise in fetal anomalies.

The epidemiologist is investigating the different variables and whether there are any correlations between the reported cases, which will be included in the report, Salley said.

— Post Independent reporter Will Grandbois contributed to this report.

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