Prevalence of G6PD deficiency & associated haematological parameters in children from Botswana
Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is commonly seen in malaria endemic areas as it is known to confer a selective advantage against malaria. Recently, we reported a high proportion of asymptomatic reservoir of Plasmodium vivax in Botswana, that calls for intervention with primaquine to achieve radical cure of vivax malaria. Considering that individuals with this enzyme deficiency are at risk of haemolysis following primaquine treatment, assessment of the population for the relative frequency of G6PD deficiency is imperative. Samples from 3019 children from all the districts of Botswana were successfully genotyped for polymorphisms at positions 202 and 376 of the G6PD gene. Haematological parameters were also measured. The overall population allele frequency (based on the hemizygous male frequency) was 2.30% (95% CI, 1.77-2.83), while the overall frequency of G6PD-deficient genotypes A- (hemizygote and homozygote genotypes only) was 1.26% (95% CI, 0.86-1.66). G6PD deficiency is spread in Botswana according to the historical prevalence of malaria with a North-West to South-East decreasing gradient trend. There was no association between G6PD status and P. vivax infection. G6PD A- form was found to be associated with decreased RBC count and haemoglobin levels without a known cause or illness. In conclusion, we report for the first time the prevalence of G6PD deficiency in Botswana which is relevant for strategies in the malaria elimination campaign. Further work to examine the activities of the enzyme in the Botswana population at risk for malaria is warranted.