The latest survey by sickle Cell Disease Project in Attappady found that over 20 per cent of the 33,120-strong tribal population is affected by the dreaded genetic disorder of sickle cell anaemia.

The latest survey conducted in June 2013 by the Agali Community Health Centre and the five Public Health Centres found 1,253 tribals affected by sickle cell anaemia (AS). Out of this 96 are acute cases (SS).

A Std III student of Malampuzha Model Residential School, Satheesh (8) of Kadukumanna tribal hamlet in Pudur grama panchyat, died of sickle cell anaemia on Tuesday.

He was under treatment in Kottathara Tribal Specialty Hospital in Attappady in May this year, said Prabhudas, Nodal officer for Health Services in Attappady and Deputy District Medical Officer.

He said the latest survey has covered less than half of the 33,120-strong total population of tribal people.

A thorough hamlet-wise survey will find at least 2,000 sickle cell carriers (AS) and 300 acute cases (SS). Thus at least 20 per cent of the tribal population is under the grip of this genetic disorder, Dr. Prabhudas said.

“If this serious health problem is not tackled immediately the tribal population in Attappady would decline and in the long run face extinction,” he said.

sickle cell anaemia is a genetic disorder of the blood. sickle cell gene carriers have one defective gene of sickle haemoglobin and do not have any problems related to the disease. But those who have sickle cell anaemia have a pair of defective genes of sickle haemoglobin, having inherited one from each of their parents.

They suffer from severe anaemia; repeated episodes of infections that may be life threatening at times; pain in limbs, abdomen and chest; and paralysis.

Most of them die in their early childhood unless treatment is initiated, Dr. Prabhudas said.

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