District of Columbia Starts Screening for SMA During Rare Disease Month

Cure SMA is pleased to announce that the District of Columbia (DC) is now screening babies born in DC for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The DC Department of Health (DC Health) confirmed its screening news with Cure SMA.

“DC Health is pleased to announce that as of February 1, babies born in the District of Columbia will now be screened for SMA,” said Dr. Jasmine Bihm, Perinatal and Infant Health Division Chief for DC Health’s Community Health Administration. “DC Health has developed an information and referral process with our DC healthcare provider community to ensure that families of DC babies diagnosed with SMA through newborn screening are immediately notified and referred to appropriate healthcare providers.”

The addition of DC now means that 99 percent of all babies born in the United States are screening for SMA.

“This year’s Rare Disease Month is extra special with the addition of the District of Columbia to jurisdictions that screen for SMA,” said Kenneth Hobby, President of Cure SMA. “We congratulate Mayor Bowser and commend DC Health for their work in ensuring that babies born in DC can benefit from an early diagnosis. And a big thank you to our DC family advocates, supporters, and partners for highlighting the importance of SMA screening.”

“Newborn screening is so critical as it provides families of babies diagnosed with SMA with the information they need to make timely decisions about treatment and care,” said Dr. Mary Schroth, Cure SMA Chief Medical Officer. “Clinical data shows that SMA treatments and care are more effective when delivered early, even before SMA symptoms appear. This is now possible for DC babies thanks to the implementation of newborn screening in DC.”

Universal Screening for SMA

Cure SMA remains committed to achieving universal screening of SMA in the United States and continues to advocate for newborn screening of SMA in Hawaii and Nevada, the last two non-screening states.

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