In the 1975 to 1976 school year, under the auspices of the Health Authorities of the Latium Region, the Rome Microcythaemia Centre carried out for the first time a partial screening survey of thalassaemia carriers among the students of the compulsory intermediate school in Latium. This work was the beginning of a new preventive school health service aimed at the prophylaxis of Cooley's disease. In 23 places investigated in Latium, 17724 students were examined, 13354 of whom were in Rome and 4370 elsewhere. The mean percentage of co-operation was 70% and the mean percentage of thalassaemia 2.42%. Thalassaemic students were invited to attend the centre for a check-up along with their families: about half had already come in by the end of June 1976. All students examined, whether normal or thalassaemic, have received written results of the tests. The screening survey aroused notable interest and obtained wide approval both at school and at home. The news of being thalassaemia carriers, even if not welcome, was never the cause of family tragedy.
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