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Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2006 Jul-Aug;23(5):419-25.

Prevalence and hematological characteristics of beta-thalassemia trait in Gaziantep urban area, Turkey.

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Department of Pediatrics, Gaziantep University School of Medicine, Gaziantep, Turkey.


Thalassemia is one of the most common hereditary disorders in the Mediterranean region and studies have shown that the prevalence of beta-thalassemia trait is high in the southern part of Turkey. Gaziantep is a city located near this region and, therefore, the authors investigated the prevalence and hematological characteristics of the beta-thalassemia traits in primary school students in Gaziantep. Sixty primary schools were selected from a list of all primary schools using a systematic sampling method. Data were collected by a face-to-face questionnaire. Osmotic fragility testing (OFT) using single-tube 0.36% NaCl solution was used for the screening of beta-thalassemia. Students who were positive in regard to OFT went through a series of testing, including a complete blood count, serum ferritin levels, serum iron, and hemoglobin electroforesis. Chi-square test was used in statistical analysis. Of the 2439 students enrolled to the study from the selected 60 classrooms, 1353 (55.5%) were male and 1086 (44.5%) were female. The OFT was positive in 115 (4.7%) of the participants. CEA and confirmatory HPLC results of the students who were positive OFT indicated that 70 (60.8%) had normal results, 33(28.7%) showed high HbA2 levels, 7 (6.1%) showed high HbA2 and HbF levels, 5(5.2%) showed high HbA2 and Fe-deficiency anemia, and none showed increased HbF levels. The overall prevalence of beta-thalassemia trait was 1.84%. No gender differentials and highest rates among the Kahramanmaras (3.5%) and Sanliurfa (1.7%) born students were the other significant findings of this study. Implementation of a routine carrier-screening program offering genetic counseling, prenatal diagnosis, and selective termination of affected fetuses would be a wise approach to eliminate this disease from the region.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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