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April 8, 1998

Screening for Cystic Fibrosis

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1998;279(14):1068-1069. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-279-14-jac80003

To the Editor.—Each year, an estimated 1000 individuals are born with cystic fibrosis (CF) in the United States; average lifetime costs are at least $800000. Prenatal screening for CF has been studied in several pilot programs in Europe and the United States.1-5 A National Institutes of Health (NIH) expert review panel recently issued recommendations about genetic testing for CF and concluded that such testing should be offered, but should be limited to couples either planning pregnancy or seeking prenatal testing.6It identified a variety of racial and ethnic groups as being eligible for such testing and called for research into "the cost-effective approaches to treatment and screening in different settings."6This recommendation deserves consideration, because 2 features of CF (birth prevalence and frequency of specific mutations) differ widely among racial groups.