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Five States Step Up Efforts to Screen Newborns for Cystic Fibrosis

More Than 40 States Now Provide Routine Testing for Life-Threatening Disease

July 11, 2008

(Washington, D.C.)— Four states-- Arkansas, Kansas, Maine, and West Virginia--have joined 40 others and the District of Columbia in requiring that all newborns be screened for cystic fibrosis (CF) at birth. 

In addition, Utah has cleared the way to begin regular CF screening as well. Routine screening is expected to begin January 1, 2009.

“Newborn screening for cystic fibrosis is critically important because it allows doctors to diagnose the disease before a child becomes ill,” said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “Early diagnosis leads to a better chance for a healthier and longer life.  Each of these states has taken an important step in the fight against cystic fibrosis.”

Research studies show that newborn screening for CF will likely improve and extend the lives of those born with the disease. Early diagnosis allows affected infants to begin therapeutic interventions immediately.  In research studies, these interventions have been shown to improve height, weight, nutrition, cognitive and lung functioning, and to reduce hospitalizations.

Cystic fibrosis is a fatal genetic disease that affects 30,000 children and adults in the United States and 70,000 people worldwide. It causes thick mucus to build up in the lungs and other organs, resulting in life-threatening infections and serious digestive complications.

Newborn screening for cystic fibrosis is important because more than 10 million Americans are symptomless carriers of a cystic fibrosis gene. Additionally, most people who have a child with CF are not aware of a family history of the disease.

When the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was created in 1955, few children lived to attend elementary school. Today, as a result of dramatic improvements in research and care fueled by the Foundation, the median age of survival for a person with CF is 37 years.


About the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the leading organization in the United States devoted to curing and controlling cystic fibrosis. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., the Foundation has more than 80 chapters and branch offices throughout the country and supports and accredits a nationwide network of 115 care centers, which provide vital treatments and other CF resources to patients and families. For more information, visit www.cff.org

Media Contact

  • Laurie Fink, Director of Media Relations; (301) 841-2602; lfink@cff.org 


    

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