Mauritania, officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is an Arab Maghreb country in West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara (controlled by Morocco) in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest. It is named after the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauretania, which later became a province of the Roman Empire, even though the modern Mauritania covers a territory far to the south of the old Berber kingdom that had no relation with it. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast.

There is no data available on the ABO/Rh(D) frequencies in the Mauritanian population. We retrospectively analysed records of a 5-year database that contained ABO/Rh phenotype and ethnic origin of 10 116 volunteers giving blood at the national blood transfusion centre to derive the frequencies of ABO/Rh(D) groups in the Mauritanian population. The two race categories in the country and their sub-ethnic groups: the Moors (whites and black) and the black Africans (Pulhars, Soninkes and Wolof) were included in this study. Globally, group O had the highest frequency (49.10%) followed by A (28.28%), B (18.56%) and AB (4.05%). This order more common in North African populations was found in four of the five ethnic groups composing our population. Allele frequencies were, respectively, 70.20%, 17.74% and 12.04% giving the same order of O > A > B. We observed no significant variation in these frequencies between the different ethnic groups. Rhesus study showed that with a percentage of 94.23% Rh(D) positive is by far the most prevalent, while Rh(D) negative is present only in 5.77% of the total population. This frequency distribution supports the mixed-race composition of the Mauritanian population.

Source: Frequencies and ethnic distribution of ABO and Rh(D) blood groups in Mauritania: results of first nationwide study.