Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common life threatening genetic disorder affecting New Zealand children.
Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited disorder. A baby can only be born with the disorder if both parents carry the affected gene. It is not caused by any previous illness suffered by one of the parents or by anything that happened during the mother’s pregnancy. It is non-contagious.
CF affects a number of organs in the body (especially the lungs and pancreas) by clogging them with thick, sticky mucus. In the lungs this can cause shortness of breath, a chronic cough and repeated chest infections. If the blockages affect the pancreas this will reduce or stop enzymes from being released to digest food, causing problems with poor weight gain and malnutrition due to malabsorption.
At present there is no cure for CF, but the gene that causes cystic fibrosis has been identified and researchers are working to find ways to repair or replace it, and medications to treat CF complications.
On the following pages you get more information about cystic fibrosis:
Diagnosis & Screening: Complications at birth, the Guthrie Test, the Sweat Test and Genetic & Carrier Testing
Symptoms: Lung, Digestive System and Other Organs