The frequency of haemoglobinopathies among the Hong Kong Chinese newborn was examined by screening 932 consecutive cord blood samples by electrophoresis. The findings indicate that 49 (5.2%) had electrophoretic abnormalities, of which 39 (4.2%) demonstrated the presence of Hb Bart’s. 14 of these 39 babies were re-investigated after 1 year and all were proven to carry the α-thalassaemia gene. This is the first study in which Chinese babies with Hb Bart’s in cord blood had the diagnosis of α-thalassaemia trait confirmed in later life. 3 out of 4 other babies had different haemoglobin variants, namely Hb αQ, Hb J and Hb New York. 1 out of the 6 babies who had elevated A2 levels at birth was found to carry the β-thalassaemia trait. None had a serious haemoglobinopathy.

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