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Cystic fibrosis gene carrier ordered to leave middle school

Category: General Wellness

Colman Chadam, an 11-year-old new student at Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto, California, has been ordered by school officials to transfer to another school district three miles away because he carries the genetic mutation linked to cystic fibrosis, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

While cystic fibrosis is not contagious, according to the National Health Service (NHS), people with the disease are already prone to lung infections, and they can be harmful to others with the condition by spreading infection through contact. 

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Chadam does not have the actual disease, and the school found out about him being a carrier when his parents put the information down on a medical disclosure form. The information was passed on to a parent who has two children with cystic fibrosis, and soon Chadam was told he would have to leave the school.

"Based on the advice of medical experts, this is the zero risk option, and most certainly helps our district deliver on its commitment to provide safe learning environments," associate superintendent, Charles Young told ABC News in a written statement.

On Oct. 12, Chadam's parents, Jaimy and Jennifer Chadam, brought the case to district court after they were unable to persuade administrators to let their son stay. Chadam will not be allowed to return to Jordan Middle School at the moment and the judge has scheduled a hearing to decide whether he will have to permanently relocate.

Cystic fibrosis
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), the body makes a protein known as cystic fibrosis conductance transmembrane regulator (CFTR), which is found in cells on the exterior of many organs, including the lungs. CFTR controls the the movement of the salt and chloride particles that pass through the cells. When someone has cystic fibrosis, the CFTR protein does not work correctly, so it is unable to properly regulate the thin layer of protective mucus on the outside of the lungs. This makes it difficult to cough, and the mucus builds up in the lungs and pancreas. Breathing becomes difficult and the lungs are more prone to bacteria, which, in turn, causes inflammation and infection.

The CFF notes that most people are diagnosed with cystic fibrosis before they're two years old. Diagnosis is usually conducted with a lab test, where the sweat is collected using an electrode that stimulates the glands, and its chloride levels are then analyzed.

Nearly 30,000 people in the United States have cystic fibrosis and it is most common in Caucasians, although people of all races are affected by it, reports the CFF. Some symptoms of the disease include frequent coughing, salty-tasting skin, running out of breath easily, little physical growth and frequent lung infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis.


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