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February 1989

Infections and Sickle Cell Disease in Eastern Saudi Arabian Children

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics (Drs El Mouzan and Al Awamy) and Community Medicine (Biostatistics) (Dr Absood), Colleges of Medicine and Medical Sciences, King Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

Am J Dis Child. 1989;143(2):205-207. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1989.02150140099028

• The rate and pattern of infections in 144 Saudi Arabian children with sickle cell disease (SCD) and matched normal control subjects are reported. All diagnoses of SCD were made at birth by means of screening blood from the umbilical cord. The children were prospectively followed up from birth to 4 years of age. Severe bacterial infections occurred in none of the children with SCD; one of the control children developed pneumococcal meningitis. Acute gastroenteritis was significantly more common among patients with SCD. For the first year of life, patients with SCD had significantly more infections than did the control children; but the reverse was true in the group that was 37 to 48 months of age. Considering all types of infections for all age groups, no difference was noted between patients with SCD and control subjects in terms of infection rate or related hospital admission. There were no deaths caused by infection in this series. We conclude that Saudi Arabian infants and young children of oasis origin with SCD are not at increased risk of infections compared with healthy children of the same age.

(AJDC 1989;143:205-207)