Prevalence of hemoglobinopathies among marrying couples in Erbil province of Iraq


BACKGROUND: Thalassemia is the most common genetic disorders worldwide, widely spreadthroughout the Mediterranean region including Iraq. One effective method to reduce incidence ofthalassemias and sickle cell disease is premarital screening.OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of β‑thalassemia trait and otherhemoglobinopathies among subjects attending the premarital screening center in Erbil.MATERIALS AND METHODS: Over a period of 1 year, 6224 couples were screened forhemoglobinopathies. Screened subjects were categorized according to the result of completeblood count, serum ferritin, and hemoglobin (Hb) electrophoresis into six groups, namely, normal,β‑thalassemia carriers, α‑thalassemia carriers, sickle cell carriers, Hb‑H (HbH) disease, and irondeficiency anemia.RESULTS: The prevalence of β‑thalassemia trait was 6.94% (864/12448) with nearly equalproportions between male and female (male to female ratio = 1:1.1). HbH disease and sickle celltrait were less common. Iron deficiency anemia was reported in 52 subjects (0.4%).CONCLUSION: We found a relatively high prevalence rate of heterozygous β‑thalassemia among thestudied sample in comparison to prevalence figures from reports in the nearby geographic locations