Alabama has now joined 39 other states and the District of Columbia in implementing mandatory CF screenings in newborn babies.

Mandatory screenings are gaining popularity because more than 10 million Americans are symptomless carriers of a CF gene. Most people who have a child with CF are also unaware of a family history of the gene.

Research has found that screening newborns for the disease may improve and extend the lives of those born with the disease, because affected infants can begin therapeutic interventions immediately.

When the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was founded in 1955, most children with the disease died before they reached elementary school. Modern therapeutic interventions have increased the median age of survival for a person with CF to 37.