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HealthInfo Canterbury

Cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited (genetic) condition that mostly affects the lungs. It can also affect other organs such as the pancreas and sweat glands.

Children who inherit two copies of the cystic fibrosis gene go on to develop cystic fibrosis. They get one gene from each parent.

People who only have one copy of the gene are carriers. A carrier will not develop cystic fibrosis. But if two carriers have a child together, there is a 25% chance the child will develop cystic fibrosis.

In New Zealand, babies are screened at birth for cystic fibrosis with a heel-prick test. The midwife who delivered the baby usually performs this test.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by community respiratory physician, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed December 2016.

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Page reference: 53622

Review key: HICYF-53622