What is the global prevalence of sickle cell disease (SCD)?

Updated: May 12, 2021
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

In several sections of Africa, the prevalence of sickle cell trait (heterozygosity) is as high as 30%. Although the disease is most frequently found in sub-Saharan Africa, it is also found in some parts of Sicily, Greece, southern Turkey, and India, all of which have areas in which malaria is endemic.

The mutation that results in HbS is believed to have originated in several locations in Africa and India. Its prevalence varies but is high in these countries because of the survival advantage to heterozygotes in regions of endemic malaria. As a result of migration, both forced and voluntary, it is now found worldwide.


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