From 1975 to 1979 the Rome Microcythaemia Centre carried out four health education campaigns and thalassaemia screenings among students of the intermediate schools throughout Latium, under the auspices and with the financial support of the Health Authorities of the Latium region. This project is aimed at avoiding reproduction by pairs of thalassaemia carriers and the birth of homozygous children. During the four campaigns 138 501 students were examined, that is, 70 to 76% of those enrolled. Of these 3343 were found to be thalassaemic. Thus the overall prevalence of thalassaemia in Latium is 2.41%, with minor fluctuations from one province to another and, above all, a slight, though definite, trend towards higher values in the southern part of Latium bordering on Campania. The screening was welcomed by the population and the thalassaemic families, there were no detectable negative side-effects, and it resulted in an increased awareness of the problem of the thalassaemias.
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