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Counselling Mothers of Babies with the Sickle Cell Trait: To Be or Not to Be

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Sickle cell disease remains incurable but the ability to prevent early, serious, life-threatening complications of the disease with pneumoccocal prophylaxis and other effective interventions has justified the use of early diagnosis. Sickle cell disease, the most common genetic condition in the world, has therefore been added to the spectrum of other much less common conditions detected by newborn screening in the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom and increasingly in other societies at high risk of affected births. Confirmation of babies with sickle cess disease and their incorporation into specialised clinics for follow-up is therefore routine in these areas. This newborn and other heterozygous conditions such as the HbC trait and it is unclear whether this informaiton should also be conveyed to the mother. For sickle cell disease, there are clear benefits to early diagnosis but does this apply to babies with the sickle cell trait?

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e-Published: 29 Jan, 2014
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