Since 1975 the Rome Microcythaemia Centre has carried out every year, under the auspices of the health authorities of the Latium region, a screening of thalassaemics among intermediate schoolchildren of Latium. From these campaigns, knowledge about thalassaemias among the young adult population has grown which, in its turn, has resulted in screening of these young adults. Through screening in schools between 1975 and 1982, of 289 763 students examined, 6838 thalassaemics were identified, 6045 of whom were beta- or delta beta-thalassaemics. The total number of young thalassaemics who are identified at present in the Centre through screenings of schoolchildren and young adults is about 3300 per year. Furthermore, from January 1980 to April 1983, 110 prospective couples of child-bearing age at risk (94 of whom originated from Latium) were identified at the Centre, and five homozygous fetuses (three of which originated from Latium) were diagnosed. These data derive from an area in which the frequency of thalassaemia is only 2.4%, and they show that the programme in Latium for the prevention of Mediterranean anaemia has been successful.
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