UK in sickle cell, thalassaemia screening drive:
This article was originally published in Clinica
The UK NHS will launch sickle cell and thalassaemia screening programmes in July. Sickle cell affects some 1 in 2,400 births - around 300 a year in England. There are an estimated 12,500 cases with this serious blood disorder. The prevalence on thalassaemia is lower (at around 700 in England), but there has been a 45% combined increase in the two diseases between 1991 and 2001, says the NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Programme. Testing for thalassaemia will be performed as part of the programme for phenylketonuria and congenital hypothyroidism, in the form of a "heel-prick" or dried bloodspot test. Both programmes are being launched in Birmingham, and are aimed particularly at the communities with higher risk of the disease. They are due to be fully rolled out by March 2006.
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