[mass noun] Any of a group of hereditary haemolytic diseases caused by faulty haemoglobin synthesis, widespread in Mediterranean, African, and Asian countries.
- ‘I first met Prawase Wasi in 1966 on a visit to Thailand on behalf of the World Health Organization to assess the extent of the problem of thalassaemia and related diseases.’
- ‘Bone marrow transplantation may be considered in some cases of sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and aplastic anemia.’
- ‘In recent years, sickle cell disease and thalassaemia, both conditions largely confined to ethnic minorities, have gained increasing recognition by the white dominated health services in the United Kingdom.’
- ‘Less common causes of microcytosis are thalassemia and lead poisoning.’
- ‘The blood dyscrasias that most commonly lead to leg ulceration are sickle cell disease, thalassaemia, thrombocythaemia, and polycythaemia rubra vera.’
1930s: from Greek thalassa sea (because the diseases were first known around the Mediterranean) + -aemia.