The pathology of African siderosis is strikingly similar to that of autosomal dominant siderosis due to ferroportin gene mutations, but the genetic basis of African siderosis has not been described. Once called Bantu siderosis because of the population affected, this disorder was originally attributed to excessive dietary iron intake. It is common in sub-Saharan Africans, many of whom drink a traditional alcoholic beverage brewed in non-galvanized steel drums. The iron content of the brew is substantial, resulting in massive iron ingestion. However, the observations that not all drinkers develop iron overload and that some individuals develop similar iron overload without drinking the beverage support the notion that there is a genetic component to this disorder. It is not yet known whether European and American individuals of African descent are also more susceptible to iron overload as a result of the same iron-loading gene.
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