December 1, 2009
The Texas Department of State Health Services today began testing for cystic fibrosis as part of a state program to screen all newborn babies for certain inheritable and congenital disorders.
The Texas Legislature approved funding earlier this year to add cystic fibrosis to the list of 27 other disorders screened for in Texas’ Newborn Screening Program. All babies born in Texas are required by law to have two rounds of screening tests for the disorders.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive system. The mucus can trap germs that can cause infections. Early detection and treatment can improve growth and brain development, reduce hospitalizations and help people with cystic fibrosis live longer.
Testing for the 28 disorders requires a “heel stick” blood sample taken from newborns shortly after birth and again at one to two weeks of age. The lab process detects those infants who have an abnormal screen. An abnormal screen triggers follow-up with a health care provider for confirmatory testing.
Early detection of these disorders allows early treatment that can prevent serious complications such as growth problems, developmental delays, deafness, blindness, intellectual disabilities, seizures and early death.
The Newborn Screening Program began in Texas as a pilot program in 1963 and was legislatively mandated in 1965. DSHS screens approximately 800,000 newborn specimens annually. Texas babies also are screened for hearing loss.
Information about the DSHS Newborn Screening Program and the disorders covered are available online at www.dshs.state.tx.us/newborn/.
(News media contact: Carrie Williams, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-458-7400.)
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