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A disorder that is characterised by a severe sensitivity to the broad bean VIVIA FABA (fava bean). If an affected person consumes these beans, a chemical in the beans causes rapid destruction of red blood cells, leading to an extreme type of anaemia.

Favism is rare except in some areas of the Mediterranean. It is a sex linked genetic disorder. Affected people have G6PD deficiency, a defect in a particular chemical pathway in their red blood cells that usually help protect cells from their injury.

Children with a family history of favism can be screened for this disorder at an early age. If the condition is found, they must stay away from fava beans as well as certain drugs, including some antibiotic drugs and antimalarial drugs that can have a similar effect on their red blood cells. 

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