Alpha thalassaemia in Zambian newborn
Muklwala EC., Banda J., Siziya S., Atenyi J., Fleming AF., Higgs DR.
The umbilical cord blood from 109 consecutive Zambian neonates (excluding those found to be anti-HIV positive) were analysed for haemoglobin (Hb) Bart's and for alpha thalassaemia by restriction endonuclease analysis. This showed that 52.3% had the genotype alpha alpha/alpha alpha, 38.5% had -alpha 3.7/alpha alpha, 7.3% had -alpha 3.7/-alpha 3.7 and 1.8% had alpha alpha alpha/alpha alpha. The alpha thalassaemia gene (-alpha) frequency was 0.27. There were no apparent differences in gene frequency between six major Zambian ethnic groups. Detection of Hb Bart's identified all alpha-thalassaemia homozygotes (-alpha/-alpha), but fewer than 10% of heterozygotes (-alpha/alpha alpha). alpha-thalassaemia was associated with slight but significant anaemia and microcytosis.