Wirth JP, Ansumana R, Woodruff BA, Koroma AS, Hodges MH
January 2018 – BMC Research Notes
By measuring the associations between the presence of sickle cell and β-thalassemia genes, we assessed the extent to which these hemoglobinopathies contribute to the high prevalence of anemia observed in preschool-aged children and women of reproductive age in Sierra Leone. The prevalence of anemia was statistically significantly higher in children with homozygous sickle cell genes (HbSS) than in children with normal hemoglobin genes (HbAA or HbAC), but there was no difference in anemia prevalence in those with heterozygous sickle cell trait (HbAS or HbSC) compared with those with normal hemoglobin genes. In women, there was no difference in anemia prevalence by sickle cell status. In both children and women, there was no difference in the anemia prevalence for individuals with or without the β-thalassemia gene. For both sickle cell and β-thalassemia, there was no significant difference in hemoglobin concentrations by sickle cell or β-thalassemia status. Anemia prevalence was higher in children and women with homozygous sickle cell (HbSS). However, as the prevalence of HbSS children (5.4%) and women (1.6%) was quite small, it is unlikely that these hemoglobinopathies substantially contributed to the high anemia prevalence found in the 2013 national micronutrient survey.