Epidemiology of genetic disease in Bahrain
Bahrain was and still is an important communication and commercial centre between the east and the west. The infiltration of foreign cultures and civilization through time give a cosmopolitan genetic base mingling with the local population. For the first time an attempt has been made to explore the prevalence of the genetic problem among Bahraini. In a study covering 1500 families we found that the consanguinity rate among Bahraini is high. 39.4% among the recent generation, but less than the previous generation (Grandparents) (45%). The high consanguinity rate has left behind its genetic footprint in the form of a high frequency of autosomal recessive diseases e.g. haemoglobinopathies and metabolic diseases. The genetic disorders of haemoglobin are prevalent in Bahrain. We found in our study on the Hospital population which covers 56,198 Bahraini, that 2% of the newborn have sickle cell disease (SCD), and 18% have sickle cell trait, while 24% are carrier for the Alpha thalassaemia gene. The study of the nature of SCD among Bahraini is divided into two parts. The first is community based and the second hospital based. From these we found that the mild form of the disease predominates but a wide clinical variability is apparent.