For Immediate Release
Montana Passes Newborn Screening Law for Cystic Fibrosis
State Joins 36 Others in Screening for Life-Threatening, Genetic Disease
January 17, 2008
All newborns in Montana will be screened for cystic fibrosis (CF), beginning today. Montana is the 37th state in the country, plus the District of Columbia, to join the roster of states that support routine CF screening at birth.
“We congratulate Montana on joining a growing list of states dedicated to supporting newborn screening for cystic fibrosis,” said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “Early diagnosis for CF is critically important because it gives every newborn a better chance for better health and a longer life.”
Cystic fibrosis is a fatal genetic disease that affects 30,000 children and adults in the United States. Newborn screening for cystic fibrosis is important because more than 10 million Americans are unknowing, symptomless carriers of a cystic fibrosis gene. And, most people who have a child with CF are not aware of a family history of the disease. Cystic fibrosis causes thick mucus to build up in the lungs and other organs, causing life-threatening infections and serious digestive complications.
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 nutritional interventions immediately. In research studies, these interventions have been shown to improve height, weight, cognitive and lung function, and to reduce hospitalizations.
When the CF Foundation was created in 1955, few children lived to attend elementary school. Today, as a result of dramatic improvements in research and care, the median age of survival for a person with CF is 37 years. The CF Foundation strongly urges all states to implement comprehensive programs for routine newborn screening for cystic fibrosis.
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 more than 115 care centers, which provide vital treatments and other CF resources to patients and families. For more information, visit www.cff.org.
- Laurie Fink, Director of Media Relations, (301) 841-2602