Our goal was to determine the prevalence of G-6-PD deficiency among Nigerian children of different ethnic backgrounds and to identify predictors of G-6-PD deficiency by analyzing vital signs and hematocrit and by asking screening questions about symptoms of hemolysis.
We studied 1,122 children (561 males and 561 females) aged 1 month to 15 years. The mean age was 7.4 ± 3.2 years. Children less than 6 years of age made up 35.6% of participants. Children of Yoruba ethnicity made up the largest group (77.5%) followed by those of Tiv and Igede ethnicity (11.9%) and those of Igbo descent (10.6%). G-6-PD status was determined using the fluorescent spot method.
The overall prevalence of G-6-PD deficiency was 15.3% with a prevalence of 24.1% in males and 6.6% in females. The prevalence in Yoruba children (16.9%) was significantly higher than that in Igbo (10.1%) and Tiv/Igede children (9.7%) (p= 0.024). Mean oxygen saturation, heart rate and hematocrit were comparable in G-6-PD deficient and G-6-PD normal children. There was a statistically higher rate of reported yellow eyes in G-6-PD deficient children (15.2% compared to 7.8%, p= 0.013). Rates of tea-colored urine and jaundice at birth did not differ significantly between the two groups. G-6-PD deficient individuals with self-reported symptoms of hemolysis did not have higher rates of mentholated product use.
We were able to determine the prevalence of G-6-PD deficiency in Nigerian sub-populations. We found a significantly higher prevalence among children of Yoruba descent. There was no association between vital parameters and G-6-PD deficiency or hematocrit and G-6-PD deficiency. We did find that a history of scleral icterus was associated with G-6-PD deficiency, but we did not exclude other common causes of icterus such as sickle cell anemia or chronic malarial infection.