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The Demographics of Thalassemia

Demographics of Thalassemia
▶ Prevalence & Demographics: Worldwide

Thalassemia in California: The PHRESH Project

PHRESH fact sheet on thalassemia:
fact sheet

PHRESH - Public Health Research Epidemiology Surveillance


Background Data:

Hemoglobin E

Hemoglobin E, a mutation of the beta globin gene, is probably the most common hemoglobin variant in the world. It is particularly common in India and Southeast Asia. The carrier state for Hemoglobin E (or Hb EE heterozygote) is clinically normal with minor hematologic changes. Homozygotes for Hemoglobin EE have a very mild anemia but are well. However, people who are compound heterozygotes for Hemoglobin E with Beta Thalassemia Trait have a serious clinical disorder. The symptoms can range from mild anemia to severe anemia requiring chronic transfusions.

Hemoglobin E is not evenly distributed among Asian groups. Below is an analysis from the State of California Newborn Screening Program of the carrier rate for Hemoglobin E (carrier or heterozygote is asymptomatic).

Hemoglobin E is not evenly distributed among Asians

• Cambodian Hb E carriers: 1 in 4
• Thai Hb E carriers: 1 in 9
• Laotian Hb E carriers: 1 in 10
• Vietnamese Hb E carriers: 1 in 39
• Hmong Hb E carriers: 1 in 61
• Asian Indian Hb E carriers: 1 in 114
• Filipino: 1 in 188
• Chinese: 1 in 254
• Korean: 1 in 786
• Japanese: 1 in 2,221

(from: Lorey F. Asian Immigration and Public Health in California: Thalassemia in Newborns in California. Journal of pediatric hematology/oncology (2000) volume: 22 issue: 6 page: 564-566 - Table 1)

Northern California Comprehensive Thalassemia Center
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland
747 52nd Street, Oakland CA 94609   •   Phone: (510) 428-3347   •   Fax: (510) 450-5647
© 2003-2012 Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland
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