News Advisory: All Utah Newborns Now Tested for Spinal Muscular Atrophy

What: The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) will begin testing every infant born in the state for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) beginning January 29, 2018. The UDOH will host a media availability and tour of the Newborn Screening Lab to celebrate this milestone.

Why: SMA is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord which impedes the ability to sit up, walk, swallow, and in the most severe cases, breathe. It is the leading genetic cause of death for infants, affecting approximately one in 11,000 infants.

Who: Interviews available include:

  • Kim Hart, program manager, Utah Department of Health Newborn Screening Program
  • Elliott & Janell Lewis, parents of two children who have SMA
  • Russell Butterfield, neurologist, University of Utah

When: Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

A tour of the Newborn Screening Lab will begin immediately after the conclusion of the media availability, at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Where: Unified Public Health Laboratory
Training room, 1st floor
4431 South 2700 West
Taylorsville, UT 84119

Visitors must check in at the front desk to receive a visitor’s badge and be escorted to the training room, which is past the elevator through a secure door.


Media contact:
Kim Hart
(m) 801-656-9315