How is sickle cell anemia detected?

Most states now perform a blood test for sickle cell disease on all newborn infants. Early diagnosis of sickle cell anemia is critical so that children who have the disease can receive proper treatment. Since May 1989, all babies born in Missouri are tested for sickle cell conditions through the Missouri Newborn Screening Program (MNSP). This test is performed at the same time and from the same blood samples as other routine newborn screening tests. If the test shows the presence of sickle hemoglobin, a second blood test is performed to confirm the diagnosis. These tests also tell whether the child carries the sickle cell trait.

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