Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Statement on “Today” Show Segment

October 18, 2012

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has received a number of questions and inquiries following the airing on NBC of a “Today” show segment earlier this week.

The story highlighted the decision of a Palo Alto, Calif., school to require the transfer of a student who may have cystic fibrosis to a different school.

The CF Foundation does not know the details of the health status of the child featured on the “Today” show and is not in a position to comment on the specifics of the case.

However, in response to questions from the CF community, the Foundation wants to take the opportunity to underscore the difference between a CF carrier and a person with CF.

People with CF have two copies of the defective CF gene. CF carriers have one copy of the defective CF gene. More than 10 million people in the United States are symptomless, often unknowing carriers of the defective CF gene. Carriers do not have cystic fibrosis and pose no risk to those who do.

It is also important to note that people who do have CF do not pose any risk to people without the disease or to carriers of the CF gene.

The CF Foundation’s Infection Control Policy

The “Today” show story has also prompted questions about the Foundation’s infection control policy. This policy is in effect to protect the health of CF patients by preventing the spread or acquisition of germs between people with CF.

The Foundation’s CF Care Guidelines on Infection Control are not relevant to individuals who are CF carriers — they only apply to people who have CF.

The Guideline’s school-based recommendations include:

  • Children with CF can attend the same school, but it is recommended that they not be in the same classroom, if possible.
  • In communal areas, CF patients should not get too close to each other.
  • Good hand-washing and cough etiquette are encouraged for everyone.

People with CF and their families who have any questions about infection control should speak with their CF care provider.

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