, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 259-271

Endemic goitre in India: Prevalence, etiology, attendant disabilities and control measures

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Abstract

Endemic goitre due to iodine deficiency is a health problem that afflicts, with varying degrees, of severity, an estimated 40 million people throughout the subcontinent. In areas where goitre prevalence is high (more than 50%) major attendant disabilities of endemic goitre such as endemic cretinism, deaf—mutism and feeble mindedness are present in about 4% of the population.

Iodisation of salt can be an effective prophylactic measure against goitre. Though, a National Goitre Control Programme was launched 2 decades back, only less than 15% of the known goitrous areas have been covered by the programme (1979–80). The major constraints in this regard seem to be inadequate availability of iodised salt.

Urgent implementation of iodine prophylaxis is imperative. Also, the benefits of modern technological advancement for early detection and prompt treatment of thyroid related developmental abnormalities of the brain among the new borns in these areas, should be utilised as an interim measure to prevent further such damages.