A disorder characterized by an extreme sensitivity to the broad bean (fava). If an affected person eats these beans, a chemical in the bean causes rapid destruction of red blood cells, leading to a severe type of anaemia (see anaemia, haemolytic). Favism is uncommon except in some areas of the Mediterranean. The disorder is caused by a sex-linked genetic disorder. Affected people have G6PD deficiency, a defect in a chemical pathway in their red cells that normally helps protect the cells from injury. Children with a family history of favism can be screened for the disorder at an early age. If it is found, they must avoid fava beans and certain drugs, including some antimalarial drugs and antibiotic drugs, that can have a similar effect on their red blood cells.


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