Cystic Fibrosis Foundation - Click here for homepage
Stay Informed  |  Volunteer  |  Clinical Trials

In This Section

Quick Links

Find a Chapter

Get Assistance

Get Assistance - Cox Boys
We are here to help people with CF get the insurance coverage they need. Hear how the Foundation helped the Cox family.

Join us on Facebook!  Facebook 
Follow us on Twitter!   Twitter
Follow us on Instagram!  Instagram 
Add us to your circle in Google+!


Subscribe to our channel on YouTube!  YouTube  



Bookmark and Share   Print  

Why Are Some Germs Particularly Dangerous for People with CF?

The faulty gene that causes CF affects how salt and water moves in the lungs. This salt imbalance results in thick, sticky mucus that builds up in the lungs, allowing germs to thrive and multiply.

When the body’s defense system — white blood cells — attack the germs, the lungs become inflamed. This inflammation spurs the creation of more mucus, which then blocks the airways, and allows more germs to grow. As you can see, it’s a vicious cycle.

Despite significant progress treating CF, infections remain a serious problem and can lead to worsening lung disease or death.

Many germs are especially dangerous for people with CF and may lead to a faster decline in lung function. Medical studies show that people with CF are at particular risk of spreading certain germs among others with the disease. Some of these germs include:

Burkholderia cepacia complex (B. cepacia)

This group of germs lives in damp or wet places and is often difficult to treat once it infects the lungs.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

MRSA are strains of Staphylococcus aureus that are resistant to commonly used antibiotics. MRSA can be spread from one person to another through casual contact — like shaking hands — or by touching objects that have the bacteria on them.

Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM)

This group of bacteria live in soil, swamps and water sources, and have been found in growing numbers of people with CF. NTM can survive many disinfectants and severe environmental conditions.

Multi-drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa)

P. aeruginosa is a common bacteria that comes in thousands of different strains and is found in many different environments. Medical data show that people with CF may pick up more difficult-to-treat strains of the bacteria from each other.

Learn more

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is an accredited charity of the Better Business Bureau.