Distribution and Incidence

Favism is found primarily in the Mediterranean and Middle East regions where fava beans are a staple food and the Mediterranean variant of G6PD deficiency gene is relatively common. Mark Belsey (1973) reports that it is frequently encountered in Greece, Sardinia, Italy, Cyprus, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Algeria, and Bulgaria, and is particularly common among Sephardic Jews. Favism has also been sporadically reported in China, Germany, France, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, Great Britain, and the United States. The disease is considered a serious public health problem in contemporary Greece (Trakas 1981).

The incidence of favism has been estimated for few areas. The most complete study in two Iranian provinces on the Caspian coast found an annual incidence that ranged between 0.65 and 6.39 cases per 10,000 population, with some areas reporting incidences as high as 9.27 cases per 10,000 (Lapeys-sonnie and Keyhan 1966). William Crosby (1956), on the other hand, estimated 50 cases per 10,000 for Sardinia. Mortality is generally rare, with rates ranging between 1 and 4 percent of the reported cases.

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