FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                Connecticut Department of Public Health

September 17, 2008                                     Contact: William Gerrish

                                                                     (860) 509-7270



Hartford – The Connecticut Department of Public Health has launched a statewide education campaign to raise awareness of Sickle Cell Disease, a debilitating and often painful disease that strikes one of every 500 African-American children. According to state health officials, nearly 12,000 people in Connecticut carry the trait.


The campaign puts a face on a disease most have heard of but few truly understand,” stated DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Robert Galvin.  Sickle Cell Disease often disrupts daily living with illness, pain, trips to emergency departments, stigma and a compromised quality of life.  It can lead to a number of medical complications including stroke, acute chest syndrome and organ damage.” 


The DPH “Face Sickle Cell” campaign runs through September, which is recognized as “National Sickle Cell Awareness’ Month.” Health officials are asking the public to reflect on the children and the adults whose lives, education and careers have been affected by Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). 


The campaign includes advertisements on Connecticut Mass Transit buses.  It also includes advertising on video monitors at checkout stands at 28 Shaw's and ShopRite supermarkets and Wal-Mart stores throughout the state during the month of September.


The DPH campaign offers general information on SCD, and features people who are living with the disease.  The campaign targets those individuals and their families as well as medical, civil, social and religious leaders who can affect SCD care, funding and support.


SCD is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders.  Sickle red blood cells become hard, sticky and shaped like sickles used to cut wheat.  When these hard and pointed red cells go through the small blood tube, they clog the flow and break apart.  This process can cause pain and a low blood count or anemia. 


In the United States, sickle cell anemia is most prevalent in African-Americans, occurring in about one in every 500 African-American children.  To date in Connecticut, newborn screenings have identified over 374 babies with the disease and 11,930 with the trait.


The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state.  To contact the department, please visit its website at or call (860) 509-7270.