New Study Findings: Incidence of Sickle Cell Trait in the US
Although the occurrence of sickle cell trait (SCT) varies greatly from state-to-state and among different races and ethnicities, every state and racial/ethnic population includes people living with the condition and many are unaware of their personal sickle cell status. Because people with SCT are at risk of having a child with sickle cell disease if their partner also has SCT or one of several other abnormal hemoglobin genes, it is important to properly inform them of their status and educate them about possible health problems and reproductive considerations.
About this Study
To obtain up-to-date measures of the occurrence of SCT among newborns by race/ethnicity and state of birth, researchers from CDC examined data collected by newborn screening programs in 2010. On December 12, 2014, CDC published the results of this research study in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Key findings from this report are highlighted below and we invite you to read theabstract here.
Main Findings from this Study
- In 2010, the total U.S. incidence estimate for sickle cell trait was 15.5 cases per 1,000 births, ranging from 0.8 cases per 1,000 births in Montana to 34.1 cases per 1,000 births in Mississippi.
- The U.S. incidence estimate for sickle cell trait (based on information provided by 13 states) was 73.1 cases per 1,000 black newborns, 3.0 cases per 1,000 white newborns, and 2.2 cases per 1,000 Asian or Pacific Islander newborns. The incidence estimate for Hispanic ethnicity (within 13 states) was 6.9 cases per 1,000 Hispanic newborns.
- The total number of babies born with sickle cell trait in 2010 was estimated to be greater than 60,000.
- The incidence of sickle cell trait varies greatly from state-to-state and among different races and ethnicities; however every state and racial/ethnic population has people living with the condition.
Critical Gaps & Future Directions
This study shows that as many as 1.5% of babies born in the United States have SCT. Based on previous studies, there are no standardized methods or protocols for alerting families or healthcare providers to this information, educating them about the potential health outcomes that might be associated with the condition, or counseling them about the impact that this might have on the family’s future reproductive choices. By including educational materials and providing genetic counseling at the same time that families are given positive SCT results, the occurrence and public health burden of SCD might be reduced.
- To learn more about sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait, please visit our sickle cell disease homepage.
- To obtain free resources on sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait, please visit the free materials section of our website.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Incidence of Sickle Cell Trait – United States, 2010, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014;December 12, 2014 / 63(49);1155-1158.