Prevalence of α-thalassemias in northern Thailand
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The population of northern Thailand has one of the highest frequencies of α-thalassemia in the world. However, the available distributional data are controversial. In addition to deletional types of α-thalassemia Hb, type Constant Spring should also be taken into consideration in α-thalassemia population studies, because it causes clinical α-thalassemia in the homozygous state or when present with both α-globin genes deleted in trans. We have examined a sample of 215 healthy subjects from four rural districts of Chiang Mai province. Out of these, 77 exhibited anomalies of the α-globin genes (αα/-α3.7 in 36; -α3.7/-α3.7 in 3; ––SEA in 30; αα/αCSα in 5; αααanti3.7 in 3). Therefore, no fewer than 2% of the children in northern Thailand are expected to be born with HbH disease or thalassemic hydrops fetalis. The considerable public health problem of hemoglobinopaties and the increasing acceptance of family planning necessitates facilities for the pre- and postnatal diagnosis of these disorders at the DNA level.
KeywordsPublic Health Health Problem Healthy Subject Family Planning Distributional Data
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