Background: Diego blood group antigen, Di(a), is very rare among Caucasians and Blacks, but relatively common among the South American Indians and Asians of Mongolian origin. The antibody to Di(a) is clinically significant to cause hemolytic disease in a new-born or hemolytic transfusion reaction.
Objectives: This study was designed to determine the prevalence of Di(a) antigen among the blood donors from the three major ethnic groups in Klang Valley of Malaysia as well as to find an incidence of an antibody of the Diego antigen, anti-Di(a), in a tertiary care hospital to ascertain the need to include Di(a+) red cells for an antibody screen cell panel.
Materials and methods: Serological tests were performed by column agglutination technique using commercial reagents and following instruction as per kit insert.
Results: Di(a) antigen was found with a frequency of 2.1% among the Malaysians donors in three ethnic groups viz, Malay, Chinese and Indian. It was present among 1.25% of 401 Malay, 4.01% of Chinese and 0.88% of 114 Indian origin donors. None of the 1442 patients, including 703 antenatal outpatients, had anti-Di(a) in serum.
Conclusion: The prevalence of Di(a) antigen was found among the donors of all the three ethnic background with varying frequency. Inclusion of Di(a+) red cells in routine antibody screening program would certainly help in detection of this clinically significant antibody and to provide safe blood transfusion in the Klang Valley, though the incidence of antibody appears to be very low in the region.
Keywords: Anti-Di(a); Di(a); Klang Valley; Malaysia; prevalence.