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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1995 Jan-Feb;89(1):62-4.

Prevalence and clinical presentation of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency in Pakistani Pathan and Afghan refugee communities in Pakistan; implications for the use of primaquine in regional malaria control programmes.

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Médecins Sans Frontières-Holland, Medical Department, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PD) deficiency surveys in Afghan refugees and a local community in the North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, showed that this trait was most common among Pathan and Uzbak refugees (15.8% and 9.1% respectively). The prevalence among Pakistani Pathans was 7.0%, and that in Tajik and Turkoman refugees was 2.9% and 2.1% respectively. Hospital studies showed that the type of G-6-PD deficiency in Pathans could cause severe haemolytic crises. The potentially fatal side effects of primaquine treatment in the Pathan communities, and the high risk of re-infection, render the anti-relapse treatment policy for Plasmodium vivax obsolete. However, epidemic conditions of P. falciparum malaria may justify the use of primaquine as a gametocidal drug, administered as a single dose, during the transmission season. These findings necessitate revision of the recommendations for the use of primaquine in the area.

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