Yersinia infections in patients with homozygous beta-thalassemia associated with iron overload and its treatment

Pediatr Hematol Oncol. Jul-Sep 1992;9(3):247-54. doi: 10.3109/08880019209016592.


Patients with homozygous beta-thalassemia are at increased risk of serious infections. Yersinia enterocolitica is an organism with a predilection for these and other iron-overloaded patients. Three young adult patients with beta-thalassemia who were chronically transfused and developed yersiniosis are reported. Iron overload and desferrioxamine use are predisposing factors, as supported by clinical, animal, and in vitro data. Iron excess both immunologically compromises the host and greatly enhances yersinial growth. Desferrioxamine may make host iron even more bioavailable to Yersinia. Recognition of this association and unusual manifestations in these patients such as an appendicitis-like syndrome may direct clinicians to earlier antiyersinial therapy and temporary cessation of chelation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Causality
  • Deferoxamine / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Homozygote*
  • Humans
  • Iron / blood*
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Thalassemia / blood
  • Thalassemia / complications
  • Thalassemia / genetics
  • Thalassemia / therapy*
  • Transfusion Reaction*
  • Yersinia Infections / complications*


  • Iron
  • Deferoxamine