Chapter

Public health strategies to prevent the complications of hemochromatosis

Wylie Burke, Mary E. Cogswell, Sharon M. McDonnell and Adele Franks

in Genetics and Public Health in the 21st Century

Published in print September 2000 | ISBN: 9780195128307
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199864485 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195128307.003.0023

Series: Oxford Monographs on Medical Genetics

Public health strategies to prevent the complications of hemochromatosis

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This chapter reviews current knowledge about the natural history and genetics of hemochromatosis, and considers the implications for public health policy of a transition from enhanced case finding to universal screening. Enhanced case finding can be justified on the basis of current evidence, because a reasonable likelihood of benefit can be inferred when symptomatic individuals are treated. Thus, efforts to increase public and health care provider awareness of hemochromatosis are merited. The educational programs required to increase the early detection of hemochromatosis could also serve as a preparatory step in the development of universal screening programs. The strongest argument in favor of universal screening is the possibility that enhanced case finding will fail to detect affected individuals before irreversible complications of hemochromatosis occur.

Keywords: genetics of hemochromatosis; public health policy; prevention; enhanced screening; universal screening

Chapter.  6674 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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