RD360 - Report to the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees of the Virginia General Assembly on Community-Based Sickle Cell Programs -- September 25, 2020
What is Sickle Cell Disease and what is its impact?
Sickle Cell Disease is an inherited blood disorder where normal soft round shaped red blood cells change to a hard-sticky sickle or quarter-moon shape. This disease is produced when the sickle cell gene is transmitted by both parents to a child. Sickled shaped cells cannot squeeze through small blood vessels so they often jam up, blocking the flow of blood and oxygen to body parts and causing extreme pain. A pain crisis can last for days or even weeks and may occur several times a year. Lack of oxygen flow can also damage muscles, bones and internal organs and lead to strokes and other serious medical problems. There is no universal cure.
Nationally, approximately 1 in 500 African American children is born with Sickle Cell Disease, making it the most common long-term illness identified in this population. However, in Virginia, approximately 1 in 325 African Americans suffer with Sickle Cell Disease, far higher than the national average. Up to 100,000 people in the USA suffer with Sickle Cell Disease of which around 4,000 are in Virginia. Over 2,000,000 people in the USA have Sickle Cell Trait and approximately 155,000 are in Virginia.