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Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal

Print version ISSN 1020-3397


EL-BESHLAWY, A. et al. Screening for b-thalassaemia carriers in Egypt: significance of the osmotic fragility test. East. Mediterr. health j. [online]. 2007, vol.13, n.4, pp. 780-786. ISSN 1020-3397.

To estimate b-thalassaemia carrier rate and to determine an accurate mass screening test, we tested 1000 randomly selected children aged 5-16 years from different geographical areas of Egypt. Microcytosis was present in 412 participants. The osmotic fragility test was positive in 81.1% of the 90 b-thalassaemia carriers; in the indeterminate group (12 participants), the test was positive in 83.3%; in the 310 who were iron deficient, the test was positive in 63.9%. b-thalassaemia carrier rate was ≥ 9%. Serum iron, microcytosis, HbA2 level and transferrin saturation were accurate tests for detecting carriers. For the one-tube osmotic fragility test, sensitivity was 87.0% and specificity 34.1%; the test has limited use for a mass screening programme in Egypt, where iron deficiency is prevalent.

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