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Estimating the burden of α-thalassaemia in Thailand using a comprehensive prevalence database for Southeast Asia

  • Hockham, C
  • Gupta, S
  • Penman, B
  • Bhatt, S
  • Piel, F
Publication Date
May 01, 2019
DOI: 10.7554/eLife.40580
UPCommons. Portal del coneixement obert de la UPC


Severe forms of α-thalassaemia, haemoglobin H disease and haemoglobin Bart’s hydrops fetalis, are an important public health concern in Southeast Asia. Yet information on the prevalence, genetic diversity and health burden of α-thalassaemia in the region remains limited. We compiled a geodatabase of α-thalassaemia prevalence and genetic diversity surveys and, using geostatistical modelling methods, generated the first continuous maps of α-thalassaemia mutations in Thailand and sub-national estimates of the number of newborns with severe forms in 2020. We also summarised the current evidence-base for α-thalassaemia prevalence and diversity for the region. We estimate that 3595 (95% credible interval 1,717–6,199) newborns will be born with severe α-thalassaemia in Thailand in 2020, which is considerably higher than previous estimates. Accurate, fine-scale epidemiological data are necessary to guide sustainable national and regional health policies for α-thalassaemia management. Our maps and newborn estimates are an important first step towards this aim.

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