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Rhesus blood group

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Rhesus blood group

(Science: haematology) human blood group system with allelic red cell antigens C, D and E.

The D antigen is the strongest. Red cells from a rhesus positive foetus cross the placenta and can sensitise a Rehesus negative mother, expecially at parturition. The mother's antibody may then, in a subsequent pregnancy, cause haemolytic disease of the newborn if the foetus is Rhesus positive.

The disease can be prevented by giving antiD igG during the first 72 hours after parturition to mop up D red cells in the maternal circulation. 1st ed