Infections are major complications and constitute the second most common cause of mortality and a main cause of morbidity in patients with thalassaemia, a group of genetic disorders of haemoglobin synthesis characterised by a disturbance of globin chain production. Thalassaemias are among the most common genetic disorders in the world. Predisposing factors for infections in thalassaemic patients include severe anaemia, iron overload, splenectomy, and a range of immune abnormalities. Major causative organisms of bacterial infections in thalassaemic patients are Klebsiella spp in Asia and Yersinia enterocolitica in western countries. Transfusion-associated viral infections (especially hepatitis C) can lead to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. A unique and challenging infection detected in Asian patients is pythiosis, caused by a fungus-like organism, the mortality rate of which is very high. Because the prognosis for thalassaemia has much improved, with many patients surviving to the fifth decade of life in developed countries, it is mandatory to reduce mortality by recognising and presumptively treating infections in these patients as quickly as possible.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases