Thalassaemia is a tropical disease
Genes for thalassaemias, sickle cell disorders and Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency are known to be associated with prevalent malaria infection. The prevalence in the heterozygote state for sickle cell anaemia (SCA), G6PD and alpha thalassaemia is between 25-30% in Nigerians but the prevalence for the beta thalassaemia trait (BTT) is low. Under-diagnosis of BTT may arise from the similarity in its clinical manifestation to that of SCA which is of high prevalence in Nigeria and secondly because the hypochromia and microcytosis associated with it may be
misdiagnosed as iron deficiency anaemia. There is therefore the need to review this disorder in the light of the wide use of automation in processing a full blood count which will include red cell indices, a good screening method for the thalassaemias. This expectedly will aid easy and early diagnosis of the disorder.
Keywords: Thalassaemia, malaria, red cell indices, misdiagnosis.
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