The Army has started testing recruits for sickle cell trait, or SCT, to identify at-risk Soldiers, as the service plans to screen all Soldiers within a year, according to a U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command medical officer.
Earlier this month, the screening push kicked off to both give Army leaders an idea of how SCT has impacted the ranks, and to help Soldiers combat the lifelong ailment, said Maj. Sean Donohue, command surgeon at TRADOC’s Center for Initial Military Training.
“On the enlisted side, recruits [at basic combat training] are now tested as part of their initial screening exam,” Donohue said. The SCT tests are grouped in “with a variety of other blood samples as part of initial processing.”
Since Nov. 2, roughly 2% of recruits have been diagnosed with the blood disorder, he said, a number on par with the national average.