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The Latest Statistics And Research On Sickle Cell Disease In 2024 

Sickle cell disease, a condition that has plagued communities for decades, remains a formidable health challenge. Despite its longstanding presence, progress in treatment has been sluggish. Many affected individuals are fervently seeking a cure, while others remain uninformed about the condition and its associated risks. 

As we fight sickle cell disease, we want to help close the knowledge gap by keeping you abreast of the recent statistics and research advancements surrounding it in 2024. 
Sickle Cell Disease In 2024

Prevalence and incidence of sickle cell disease in 2024

Sickle cell disease affects millions worldwide. While Sub-Saharan Africa is still number one, other regions like India are seeing more cases. This shows that the situation is changing. 

Let’s look closer at how sickle cell disease is spread across regions, different types, genders, and overall how many cases there are globally.

Regional trends

  • Latin America and the Caribbean saw notable increases in sickle cell disease birth rates, while central Europe, eastern Europe, central Asia, north Africa, and the Middle East experienced decreases in sickle cell disease birth rates.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa saw a 27.2% rise in sickle cell disease births, reaching 405,000 in 2021.
  • The high-income super-region saw an 11.5% reduction in births, from 2860 in 2000 to 2530 in 2021.
  • Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia experienced the largest decline, down 33.3%, with cases decreasing from 425 in 2000 to 285 in 2021.
  • Countries with incidence at birth between 1000 and 2000 per 100,000 live births included Bahrain, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, and Sao Tome and Principe.
  • Since 2000, Equatorial Guinea, Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo have consistently exceeded the 2000 incidence per 100,000 live births. They comprised 44% of the global incidence at birth in 2021, similar to 2000.

Genotypic distribution

  • Out of 515,000 births, 76.5% were SS and Sβ° genotypes, 19.6% were SC genotypes, and 3.9% were Sβ+ genotypes.

Gender disparities

  • In 2021, sickle cell disease prevalence among females (3.90 million) was similar to males (3.84 million) globally.

Overall prevalence and incidence

  • Globally, the number of babies born with sickle cell disease rose from 453,000 to 515,000 from 2000 to 2021, marking a 13.7% increase to 382 per 100,000 live births.
  • Global prevalence reached 5.68 million cases in 2021, reflecting a 67.4% increase since 2000.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa’s rise in sickle cell births was mainly due to population growth, unlike other regions where incident cases decreased.

Sickle cell disease global incidence and prevalence in 2024

Mortality rates due to sickle cell disease

Mortality rates due to sickle cell disease reflect the severity of the condition and its impact on affected populations.

Often, more people die from all causes related to sickle cell disease than from the disease itself. This shows how big of a problem sickle cell disease is and why we need to act quickly with effective treatments. 

By looking at how many people are dying from sickle cell disease worldwide and in different regions, we can better understand the situation and how it’s changing over time.

Global mortality trends

  • Sickle cell disease cause-specific deaths rose to a 20.8% increase, while total deaths increased by 43.4% globally between 2000 and 2021.
  • In 2021, all-age cause-specific mortality rates were 0.4 per 100,000, while total mortality rates were notably higher at 4.8 per 100,000.
  • Cause-specific mortality rates decreased, while total mortality rates remained stable or declined less noticeably from 2000 to 2021.
  • The total deaths were nearly 11 times higher than cause-specific deaths globally, with greater disparities in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Regional mortality patterns

  • Sub-Saharan Africa saw 29,400 deaths from sickle cell disease, a 30.1% increase since 2000. Total deaths reached 265,000 in 2021, up 65.1% from 2000. They also had the highest mortality rates, with 6.0 cause-specific deaths and 35.6 total deaths per 100,000 population.

Age-related mortality

  • Sickle cell disease mortality fractions increased across age groups, notably in sub-Saharan Africa, where it rose with age.
  • Cause-specific deaths represented 0.4% of deaths in children under 5 and 0.6% in individuals aged 15–49.
  • Total sickle cell disease deaths represented 2.2% of deaths in children under 5 and 4.3% in individuals aged 15–49.

Mortality Rates due to sickle cell disease 2024

Public health impact of sickle cell disease

Sickle cell disease is a major concern for public health worldwide. By understanding how it affects different regions and impacts global health rankings, we can see why it needs more attention as a global health issue.

Regional burden and disability

  • Western and central sub-Saharan Africa, along with India, bore the highest sickle cell disease disability burdens.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa’s share of the global burden rose from 70% in 2000 to 79% in 2021.
  • India’s share of the global burden decreased from 21% in 2000 to 16% in 2021.

Global ranking and mortality

  • Sickle cell disease ranked 12th globally in total under-5 mortality, contrasting with its 40th rank in cause-specific mortality among the global burden of disease causes.
  • Portugal, Jamaica, Libya, Oman, and San Marino listed sickle cell disease mortality as the top three causes of death for children under 5.

Disparities in mortality rates

  • Total mortality rates surpassed cause-specific rates by 50 times or more in 70 countries for children under 5, 51 countries for ages 5–14, and nine countries for ages 15–49.
  • In countries with high incidence at birth, sickle cell disease mortality accounted for 3.8% of total under-5 deaths on average.
  • In areas not meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target 3.2 (ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages), sickle cell disease contributed 1.9% to the under-5 mortality rate on average.
  • Sickle cell disease caused at least three under-5 deaths per 1000 live births in Equatorial Guinea, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Sierra Leone.
  • In countries with malaria incidence above 10,000 per 100,000 population, sickle cell disease mortality contributed 2.3% to all-cause mortality in the under-5 age group, peaking at 8.4% in Equatorial Guinea.

Public Health Impact of Sickle Cell Disease

What these numbers tell us 

Despite medical advancements, over half a million babies were born with SCD worldwide in 2021, showing the ongoing challenge it presents.

Mortality rates linked to sickle cell disease are much higher than officially reported, particularly among children, and have worsened since 2000, except in richer areas. This gap in reported deaths highlights the need for comprehensive solutions to tackle sickle cell disease’s impact.

Sickle cell disease also heavily burdens public health systems worldwide, with regions like Western and central sub-Saharan Africa and India facing the most challenges. These areas struggle with limited resources and healthcare infrastructure, exacerbating the SCD crisis. 

Additionally, the economic toll of SCD is wide-ranging, including direct healthcare costs, lost productivity, and decreased quality of life for patients and their families. This financial strain is particularly severe in poorer regions, where access to care is limited.

Addressing the challenges of sickle cell disease

Treatments are vital in managing sickle cell disease, aiming to ease symptoms and complications. They include blood transfusions, hydroxyurea, pain relief, antibiotics, and bone marrow transplants.

A major advancement came in late 2023, with the FDA approving gene editing therapy for people aged 12 and up with sickle cell disease. This method modifies DNA in stem cells to restore healthy red blood cell production, offering hope for better sickle cell disease management.

Natural remedies like EvenFlo also show promise. A study found it reduced sickle cell disease symptoms by 93%, leading to fewer crises and higher hemoglobin levels.

Yet, tackling the challenges of sickle cell disease requires more than treatments. It needs efforts to raise awareness, improve healthcare access, and address disparities. Support programs are crucial for affected individuals and families.

Through collaboration and holistic approaches, we can improve sickle cell disease outcomes and reduce its impact through collaboration and holistic approaches. 

Advocate for better care and resources today by sharing this blog to spread awareness about sickle cell disease and the need for improved support and treatment options. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by SCD.


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