Texas May Soon Begin Cystic Fibrosis Screenings For Newborns

By: CBS News Email
By: CBS News Email

Texas is one of the only states in the country that does not screen newborn babies for Cystic Fibrosis.
A vote in Austin could change that.
The Sullivan girls of San Antonio are three of a kind, sisters who look a lot alike and enjoy each other's company.
But middle sister Betsy, 9, has a special health problem.
She suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, an inherited disease her parents didn't even know she had until she was 18 months old.
Cystic Fibrosis causes mucus to build up in the body, and causes problems with the lungs and pancreas, often ending in an early death.
In 2005, Texas expanded newborn screening from 7 diseases to 28, but CF is still not on the list.
Parents like Mary Sullivan would like to see that changed.
Sullivan argues that "it's an easy test. It's not invasive. It's a sweat test that can be done the day they're born. It yields instant results. I don't know why we're not doing it."
Last week, hundreds of March of Dimes volunteers traveled to Austin, urging legislators to support $2.9 million in general revenue to include CF in the state's newborn screening panel.
Texas has the third largest population of patients with Cystic Fibrosis, and most states already screen their newborns.
Sullivan calls a vote to fund this testing a "no-brainer."
"There are only four states that are not doing this on all newborns, and those other three states are passing legislation. If we don't pass this legislation, we will be the only state that does not test for Cystic Fibrosis. I just don't know why you wouldn't want to know and be able to treat it immediately," Sullivan says.
State representative Myra Crownover, a Republican from Denton, is leading the charge for the funding of the CF newborn screening.
She says this kind of testing should be standard medical practice.

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