, Volume 143, Issue 3, pp 1255-1263
Date: 21 Jan 2011

Suboptimal Selenium Supply—A Continuing Problem in Keshan Disease Areas in Heilongjiang Province

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This study explores whether the declining prevalence of Keshan disease is associated with increasing selenium levels in Keshan disease areas in Heilongjiang province. Six counties endemic with Keshan disease and three non-endemic counties were selected as study areas. In each county, two townships and in each township one village were chosen in which to survey ten families about head hair, grain, and soil samples and to obtain demographic information. Selenium was measured with hydride generation-atomic fluorescence spectrometry. In each county endemic with Keshan disease, one of the villages was chosen to investigate the prevalence of the disease. We collected 534 head hair samples, 446 staple food samples, and 180 soil samples. The selenium levels of head hair and corn in the endemic counties were significantly lower than those in non-endemic counties. Family demographic information was homologous except for the composition of staple food. More residents in Keshan disease areas preferred flour and corn. The detection rate for latent Keshan disease had a significantly negative correlation with the corn selenium level in six counties endemic with Keshan disease. As the population in this region is still at risk for Keshan disease, selenium surveillance measures should be intensified.