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Vol34No16 (Apr 14, 2000 )  : News & News Analysis

High incidence of blood disease in Irish babies

By Maresa Fagan

Routine genetic testing of newborn babies may be warranted because of the high incidence of a serious blood disease in the Irish population.

Dr John Crowe, gastroenterologist at the Centre for Liver Disease, Mater Hospital said that one in 86 Irish babies are genetically predisposed to haemachromatosis, which is the highest incidence in the world.

Whether genetic testing for haemochromatosis should be incorporated into the neonatal screening programme remains to be seen, according to Dr Crowe. He added that the Department of Health does not currently support the costly test.

Dr Crowe will discuss the practical problems associated with genetic testing at the RCPI Faculty of Pathology meeting this week.

Other speakers include Dr Michael Whelton, consultant gastroeneterologist at Cork University Hospital, who will discuss the clinical features of haemachromatosis.

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