About 12% of Cypriots are carriers of thalassemia gene, and 700 people in Cyprus suffer from this disease. Such data was provided by the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics on the occasion of the International Thalassemia Day, which is celebrated worldwide 8 May. In Cyprus, beta-thalassemia is common. The treatment is conducted in 4 specialized clinics located at the hospitals of the island. In Cyprus, before the marriage, the newlyweds must make a blood test for thalassemia, since if the gene is found in both the groom and the bride, it is likely that they will have sick children. In this case, the pregnancy is under medical supervision.
Previously, such pairs were not recommended for children, because physicians could not guarantee the appearance of healthy offspring, and in sick children, severe deviations from the first months of life were observed. Now high technologies allow to diagnose problems in the fetus, but, nevertheless, constant monitoring and caution is required.
In Europe, 2017 established an international network of research centers and specialized clinics to help patients with thalassemia. Members of this network are 15 European countries, where the spread of thalassemia.
Thalassemia (Cooley's anemia) is a disease inherited by a recessive type (a two-allele system), which is based on a decrease in the synthesis of polypeptide chains that make up the structure of normal hemoglobin. Normally, the main variant (97%) of adult hemoglobin is hemoglobin A. This is a tetramer consisting of two monomers of α-chains and two monomers of β-chains. 3% hemoglobin of adults is represented by hemoglobin A2, consisting of two alpha and two delta-chains. There are two HBA1 and HBA2 genes encoding the alpha monomer, and one HBB gene encoding the beta monomer. The presence of a mutation in the hemoglobin genes may lead to a disruption in the synthesis of chains of a particular species.
Beta-thalassemia is common in the Mediterranean, West Asia and North Africa. These are regions where malaria is common. Heterozygous carriers of mutations in the alpha and beta chains of hemoglobin are more resistant to the malarial plasmodium. There are foci of thalassemia in Azerbaijan, in the flat areas of which heterozygous beta-thalassemia is observed in 7-10% of the population.