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Thalassaemia among Asians in Britain

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 27 March 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:873

Thalassaemia Society is working to improve awareness

  1. N Lakhani, President
  1. UK Thalassaemia Society, Southgate Circus, London N14 6PH
  2. Department of Primary Care and General Practice, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT
  3. Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences, Royal Free Hospital and University College London School of Medicine, Whittington Hospital, London N19 5NF

    EDITOR—Gill and Modell quote incidence figures for thalassaemia in the United Kingdom.1 However, the paper by Varawalla et al indicates that up to 1 in 7 Asians in the United Kingdom may be carriers.2 There have been no large epidemiological studies to provide a true picture (incidence varies according to religion, marriage practices, and culture).

    They are correct that awareness levels are unacceptably low, and our survey carried out in November 1996 of Asians in England showed that only 5% were aware of thalassaemia. We have calculated the cost of supporting a patient from birth to 30 years. Figures vary depending on the calculation method and whether the cost of borrowing to the …

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