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April 1986

An Apparent Cluster of Aplastic Anemia: Credible Science?

Author Affiliations

Charleston, SC

Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(4):809. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360160265043

To the Editor.  —Linet et al1 were puzzled by the occurrence of four cases of aplastic anemia occurring among teenagers in the rural community of Gaffney, SC, during the years 1973-1980.This led them to a search for some common exposure. Despite two retrospective interview studies, they came up empty-handed. Nevertheless, they report the details of their search to alert practitioners to the possibility of similar clusters.First reading of the article leads one to expect some hard data to support an association between cases and "employment in the textile industry and in agriculture (specifically peach orchards)." This was picked up by the Associated Press in a news story dated Sept 18, 1985.Careful reading of the article yields the following facts: (1) four cases are listed, two of which discuss brothers in a single household. One developed anemia at age 8 years and infectious mononucleosis two months prior