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Notice to Readers: Sickle Cell Awareness Month -- September 2009

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 persons in the United States (1). It affects persons from many different racial and ethnic populations. In the United States, one in 500 African Americans is born with the disease. Other populations affected include Hispanics, persons of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern descent, and Asian Americans. In addition, approximately 2 million persons in the United States have sickle cell trait. Sickle cell disease is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. A person with one copy of the mutated gene for hemoglobin is commonly referred to as having sickle cell trait. The trait typically is asymptomatic, and persons with the trait commonly are unaware of their carrier status. However, these persons might pass the gene on to their children. Currently, no data system exists that can be used to determine the actual prevalence of sickle cell disease in the United States. CDC, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, is working to develop a pilot surveillance system that will help determine more about how many persons have the disease and how it affects them.

September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month. In recognition, CDC is sponsoring activities to increase knowledge and awareness of the disease, including a symposium on September 21, 2009, in Atlanta, Georgia. Additional information about sickle cell disease and the symposium is available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell.

Reference

  1. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Disease and conditions index. Sickle cell anemia: who is at risk? Bethesda, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; 2009. Available at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Sca/SCA_WhoIsAtRisk.html.

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Date last reviewed: 9/3/2009

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