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Serious Birth Defect on the Rise, CDC Researchers Say

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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) —

An increasing number of babies are being born with a serious birth defect, gastroschisis, and it’s got scientists concerned.

The condition causes the intestines, and sometimes organs such as the liver and stomach, to poke through a newborn’s abdomen near the belly button. It needs to be repaired through surgery.

The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that the number of cases of the birth defect nearly doubled from 1995 to 2005. The problem has continued to increase since 2005 for babies born to mothers of every race and age group. For non-Hispanic black women under age 21, the rate increased 263%, which was of particular concern, researchers said. Scientists tracked birth data in 14 states.

It’s unclear what is causing the increase. The authors of the report are calling for more research.