WILLIAMSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - The Illinois Department of Public Health is reminding people that September is National Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month.
IDPH says newborn screening, parental education and comprehensive care can reduce this debilitating illness.
Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S., affecting 70,000 to 100,000 and millions more worldwide. The disease primarily affects people of African and Mediterranean ancestry and is also prevalent in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
"Since 1989, the Illinois Department of Public Health has diagnosed more than 2,900 newborns with sickle cell disease," said IDPH Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold. "Newborn screening, parental education is critical to saving lives, especially in families that have a genetic history of the disease."
According to IDPH, the disease is estimated to occur in one in 500 African-Americans and about one in 1,000 Latinos.