Cystic fibrosis testing for all newborns was introduced in the UK from late 2007. The tests are carried out as part of the heel-prick test performed by your midwife when your baby is between one and two weeks old.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that, until recently, could have taken up to two years to diagnose.
The test is straightforward, with most babies given a clean bill of health. For those who test positive for cystic fibrosis, treatment can start straight away.
What is cystic fibrosis?
CF affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, which become clogged with a sticky mucus resulting in chronic infections and difficulty digesting food. About 240 babies are born with CF every year.
What causes it?
CF is caused by a defective gene. More thahn two million people in the UK carry this faulty gene, and it can be passed on to the baby if two parents are carriers.
Can CF be cured?
Currently there is no cure for CF, but it can be managed with medicine and physiotherapy. Early detection means that babies can get the treatment they need straight away before their lungs become too damaged.
Early treatment means a child with CF can live a longer,healthier life.