Environmental determinants of aplastic anemia in Pakistan: a case-control studyReport as inadecuate

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Journal of Public Health

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 453–460

First Online: 11 June 2016Received: 31 December 2015Accepted: 30 May 2016DOI: 10.1007-s10389-016-0743-6

Cite this article as: Taj, M., Shah, T., Aslam, S.K. et al. J Public Health 2016 24: 453. doi:10.1007-s10389-016-0743-6


AimAplastic anemia AA affects the Asian population two to three fold more than people in other regions. Besides the host genetics and socioeconomic status, several other environmental exposures have been linked with an AA etiology. We aimed to examine the association of various environmental exposures with AA occurrence among Pakistani individuals.

Subjects and methodsA case-control study was conducted in Karachi, Pakistan, where cases diagnosed AA patients were selected from the National Institute of Blood Disease and Bone Marrow Transplantation NIBD, while for each case, a single control who was free of AA and visited the outpatient department of the same hospital for the treatment of minor ailments was selected matched by age and sex. A total of 428 participants were included in this study with equal proportions of cases and controls. Information related to disease characteristics, sociodemographics and exposure to chemicals was collected through a survey questionnaire, laboratory investigations and medical records. Descriptive results were reported as frequencies and proportions, adjusted odds ratios with 95 % confidence intervals and population attributable risk PAR as percentage.

ResultsAmong study participants n = 428, AA was significantly associated with various environmental exposures. Participants residing in rural settings OR = 2.29, 95 % CI 1.12–4.67, p-value < 0.01 and those who reported exposure to pesticides OR = 3.58, 95 % CI 1.27–10.10, p-value 0.01; PAR = 18.16 % were significantly more likely to report AA. Participants with a formal education were significantly less likely to have AA OR = 0.27, 95 % CI 0.10–0.71, p-value < 0.01.

ConclusionsThis study observed a significant association of aplastic anemia with a lower socioeconomic profile, and certain environmental exposures among the Pakistani population. The evidence may be helpful in understanding the pathophysiology of aplastic anemia in the context of environmental exposures.

KeywordsAplastic anemia Environmental exposures Pesticides Arsenic Case-control study  Download fulltext PDF


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