Molecular epidemiological characterization and health burden of thalassemia in Jiangxi Province, P. R. China.
Thalassemia is the most common inherited disease in southern China. However, this disorder is usually ignored by Jiangxi provincial health system and government due to lack of epidemiological data.A total of 9489 samples from Hakka Han and Gan-speaking Han in three geographical areas of Jiangxi Province were analyzed for both complete blood cell (CBC) count and reverse dot blot (RDB) gene chip for thalassemia.1182 cases of suspected thalassemia carriers with microcytosis (MCV<82 fL) were found by CBC count, and were tested by RDB gene chip to reveal a total of 594 mutant chromosomes, including 433 α-thalassemia mutant chromosomes and 172 β-thalassemia mutant chromosomes. Our results indicated a higher prevalence of thalassemia with the heterozygote frequency of 9.49% in southern Jiangxi province, whereas the low frequency was found in middle (3.90%) and northern Jiangxi (2.63%).Based on the epidemiological data, the estimated numbers of pregnancies in Jiangxi province in which the fetus is at risk for β-thalassemia major or intermedia, Bart's hydrops fetalis and Hb H disease are 34 (95% CI, 16 to 58), 79 (95% CI, 50 to 114) and 39 (95% CI, 27 to 58) per year, respectively. We suggested that prevention network of thalassemia should be established, especially in high prevalent southern Jiangxi (Hakka Han), including establishment of thalassemia database collection, hematological analysis laboratories, genetic counselling clinics, prenatal diagnosis centers and neonatal screening centers.