Although significant anemia frequently is associated with chronic suppurative disease, it is a less common event in the course of acute infections. When present, anemia has usually resulted from accelerated hemolysis, caused by bacterial hemolysins, direct red blood cell infestation, elevated titers of cold agglutinins, or the development of transient hypersplenism. However, it is not infrequent to investigate such an anemia and uncover none of the above-mentioned causes.
Preliminary studies have indicated that there is a greater frequency of transient anemia during the course of acute infections in Negroes than in whites. Rarely, in this circumstance, were any of the usual mechanisms of anemia identified. In recent studies reported in the March issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, an association between glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PD) deficiency and the occurrence of significant anemia during the course of acute infection in Negroes has indeed been established. With G-6-PD deficiency as the underlying