ABSTRACT: To evaluate the feasibility of systematic neonatal screening for sickle cell disease in the region of Great Lakes in Central Africa using a new approach with limited costs.
Between July 2004 and July 2006, 1825 newborn dried blood samples were collected onto filter papers in four maternity units from Burundi, Rwanda and the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo. We tested for the presence of haemoglobin C and S in the eluted blood by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test using a monoclonal antibody. All ELISA-positive samples (multiple of the median (MoM) > or = 1.5) were confirmed by a simple molecular test. The statistica software version 7.1 was used to create graphics and to fix the MoM cut-off, and the chi(2) of Pearson was used to compare the genotype incidences between countries.
Of the 1825 samples screened, 97 (5.32%) were positive. Of these, 60 (3.28%) samples were heterozygous for Hb S, and four (0.22%) for Hb C; two (0.11%) newborns were Hb SS homozygotes.
The lower cost and the high specificity of ELISA test are appropriate for developing countries, and such systematic screening for sickle cell anaemia is therefore feasible.
Journal of Medical Screening 01/2007; 14(3):113-6. · 1.69 Impact Factor