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עמוד בית
Tue, 23.07.24

Original Articles

IMAJ | volume 11

Journal 4, April 2009
pages: 229-234

Sickle Cell Anemia in Northern Israel: Screening and Prevention

    Summary

    Background: Sickle cell anemia is a hemolytic anemia caused by a single mutation in position 6 of the β globin molecule. About 80 patients with SCA[1] in northern Israel are currently receiving treatment.

    Objectives: To assess a screening program in northern Israel aimed at detecting couples at risk for having offspring with SCA.

    Methods: Since 1987, screening for β thalassemia in pregnant women in northern Israel has been conducted, and from 1999 all the samples were also tested for hemoglobin S, Hgb C, Hgb D, Hgb O Arab and others.

    Results: During the 20 year period 1987–2006 a total of 69,340 women were screened; 114 couples who carried Hgb S were detected and 187 prenatal diagnoses were performed in couples at risk for having an offspring with Hgb S. The mean gestational age was 13 ± 4 weeks. Fifty-four of those diagnoses revealed affected fetuses and in 4 cases the couple declined to perform therapeutic abortion.

    Conclusions: The economic burden to the health services for treating SCA patients is about U.S.$ 7000 per year, and the institution of prevention programs has proven cost-effective in populations with a high frequency of carriers. Since our program is aimed to also detect β thalassemia, a disease that is more frequent in this area (> 2.5%), the added cost for the prevention of SCA is less significant in spite a low incidence of the S gene in our population, namely < 1%.



    [1] SCA = sickle cell anemia

     

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