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Am J Med. 1989 Sep;87(3N):40N-43N.

Hemochromatosis and infection: alcohol and iron, oysters and sepsis.

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Division of Genetic Medicine, University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida 33101.


Hemochromatosis, or primary iron overload, is a variably expressed genetic metabolic disorder greatly modified by sex, age, diet, and alcohol consumption. Although a diagnosis has been made at the bedside by careful documentation of the slow resolution of subcutaneous iron pigment, clinical diagnosis is frequently overlooked, and even autopsy may fail to reveal hemochromatosis as the cause for cirrhosis. Genetic linkage studies have confirmed the extremely high prevalence of this disorder. Untreated patients may succumb to sepsis caused by organisms such as Vibrio vulnificus, Yersinia species, and others whose virulence is altered by iron availability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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