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September 19, 1959


Author Affiliations

Omaha, Neb.

From the Department of Medicine, Creighton University, College of Medicine.

JAMA. 1959;171(3):299-300. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.73010210004013b

The Vicia faba, or fava, bean as a cause of acute hemolytic anemia is of interest to medical students and physicians. Luisada1 emphasized the important features of this anemia, called favism, in 1941. It occurs in some persons after the ingestion of V. fava beans. Reports of favism date from the fifth century B. C. Most cases occur in countries bordering on the Mediterranean, where V. fava, called "horse bean," "broad bean," or "Italian bean," is grown in abundance and is a dietary staple. Now it is being cultivated in many countries, including the United States. McPhee2 recently described the 16th case reported in the United States. The beans, dried or canned, can be purchased in the middle west. The disease occurs most frequently in children and begins abruptly; anorexia, abdominal pain, malaise, and weakness are common symptoms; and hemoglobinuria, jaundice, and pallor are the foremost signs. The