As reported by The Hartford Courant, May 27, 2009.

New Law for Screening Cystic Fibrosis

All newborns in Connecticut will be screened for cystic fibrosis under a law that Governor M. Jodi Rell signed Tuesday.

The law, which will take effect October 1, makes Connecticut one of the final states in the nation to require that newborns be screened for the disease, which can cause severe lung damage and nutritional deficiencies.

The proposal to screen newborns drew widespread support and passed both houses of the General Assembly unanimously. It calls for cystic fibrosis to be added to the list of conditions that newborns must be screened for, including HIV, sickle cell disease, phenylketonuria and several other conditions. The tests must be administered as soon after birth as is medically appropriate.

Cystic fibrosis, which occurs in one in 3,500 births, is an inherited condition that causes the body to produce thick mucus that can clog the lungs and obstruct the pancreas, potentially leading to life-threatening lung infections and making it harder to digest and absorb food.

Experts say that early diagnosis and immediate intervention can make a significant difference, including reducing hospitalizations and increasing life expectancy.

Some Connecticut hospitals already test newborns for cystic fibrosis. Yale-New Haven Hospital screens about 6,000 babies a year. The UConn Health Center tests about 24,000 babies, according to the state Department of Public Health.