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Monday, 17 February, 2003, 11:40 GMT
Cystic fibrosis screening begins
New-born baby
Early detection is vital to aid better treatment
New-born babies are to be screened for cystic fibrosis under a scheme announced by the Scottish Executive.

The screening programme was due to be introduced in April last year but was postponed because of a lack of specialist staff.

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust welcomed the announcement but said Scotland did not have the necessary paediatric care to treat babies diagnosed with the disease.

Cystic fibrosis is a chronic inherited disease, which causes the lungs to produce too much mucus and prevents the body from digesting fat.

Through early diagnosis we can make sure that treatment is given at the earliest possible stage

Deputy Health Minister Mary Mulligan

About 20 to 30 children are born with the disease every year and early detection means they can be treated before lung damage occurs.

It can be controlled through physiotherapy and medication but often diagnosis is only made once a child has developed a serious chest infection.

Deputy Health Minister Mary Mulligan said the programme would ensure earlier detection and better treatment for the disease.

Mrs Mulligan said: "Sadly, we cannot prevent a child being born with cystic fibrosis.

Treated immediately

"But, through early diagnosis, we can make sure that treatment is given at the earliest possible stage."

She said this would mean complications associated with cystic fibrosis would be less severe and that parents are given the information and support they need to care for the child.

Rosie Barnes, of the National Cystic Fibrosis Trust welcomed the programme.

She said: "The Cystic Fibrosis Trust has recognised the importance of screening babies for cystic fibrosis at birth for many years."

She said: "It is now clear that babies who are diagnosed at birth and treated immediately will be more likely to remain in good health for longer than those who do not receive effective treatment for months or years.".

See also:

09 Oct 01 | Scotland
30 Apr 01 | Health
28 Jun 99 | Health
04 Oct 00 | Health
21 Sep 00 | Health
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