SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State health officials say every baby newly born in Illinois will be tested for Spinal Muscular Atrophy starting Monday.
The Illinois Department of Public Health says Spinal Muscular Atrophy, known as SMA, is a group of hereditary diseases that destroys motor neurons over time and leads to muscle weakness and atrophy.
Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said SMA is the top genetic cause of infant death and early diagnosis can save lives.
The department said SMA affects about 1 in 11,000 births. Officials said the early screening can let treatment begin before an infant starts to show symptoms.