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January 1967

Thalassemia in Negroes

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine and The Georgetown Medical Division, The District of Columbia General Hospital, Washington, DC.

Arch Intern Med. 1967;119(1):86-91. doi:10.1001/archinte.1967.00290190134013

ALTHOUGH thalassemia is usually considered to be a disease of the Mediterranean people, it has been described in many racial and ethnic groups.1 In particular, McFarland and Pearson recently reported six individuals with this disease, none of whom stemmed from the Mediterranean area.2

Among races and ethnic groups where thalassemia has been found is the Negro.3-5 The discovery that an increase in the proportion of hemoglobin A2 in a hemolysate defines one form of thalassemia trait has made the diagnosis of this disorder much easier.6 The incidence of high A2-thalassemia trait was estimated to be 0.8% among Negroes in St. Louis.7 Nevertheless, thalassemia trait and thalassemia major are not commonly diagnosed in this racial group. Consequently, it seemed desirable to report a series of six unrelated Negro women with thalassemia trait. All but two were originally believed to have iron deficiency anemia but failed to respond completely to iron. Most

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