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April 1955

Sickle Cell Trait and Disease in Pulmonary Tuberculosis

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, State University of New York College of Medicine at New York City, and the Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1955;95(4):540-542. doi:10.1001/archinte.1955.00250100046004

The relatively high frequency of tuberculosis in the Negro has for a long time been a subject for speculation. Low racial resistance and poor socioeconomic conditions have been blamed for this increased incidence.1

Recently, Weiss and Stecher 2 in a series of 150 Negro patients with pulmonary tuberculosis found that 12.6% had sickle cell trait, whereas in another group of 150 Negroes without pulmonary tuberculosis only 5.3% had the sickling trait. Moreover, of the 19 who had both sickle cell trait and pulmonary tuberculosis, 14, or 74%, had exudative lesions, whereas only 38% of those with pulmonary tuberculosis but without sickle cell trait had exudative lesions. This led these observers to hypothesize that the sickle cell trait might not only contribute to the increased incidence of pulmonary tuberculosis in the Negro but might also influence the extent of the disease present. In contrast to the figures of Weiss and

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