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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency

Other Names for this Disease
  • G6PD deficiency
  • Hemolytic anemia due to G6PD deficiency
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Your Question

As an individual with G6PD deficiency, would living or traveling in a malaria risk country pose a greater risk to me compared with an individual who does not have this deficiency?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Is there an association between glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency and risk of malaria?

There has been some evidence that males with G6PD deficiency may be protected against severe malaria. It has been noted that the distribution of individuals with G6PD deficiency corresponds to areas in which malaria is, or has been, common. This has led to speculation that the prevalence of malaria has influenced the gene pool of populations in these areas, favoring the presence of the G6PD deficiency trait. It is possible that the frequency of malaria is lower in individuals with G6PD deficiency; however, a protective effect against uncomplicated malaria has not been conclusively verified.[1]

Another association between G6PD deficiency and malaria is that hemolytic anemia in G6PD-deficient individuals is known to be triggered by a number of things, including anti-malarial drugs.[1] Individuals should be screened for the G6PD defect before being treated with anti-malarials and other medications.[2]
Last updated: 5/14/2012