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What should we know about Hepatitis C and is the blood safe to transfuse after negative testing?

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asked May 9, 2012 in Conditions and Treatments by Hatice Simsek MD (3,070 points)
retagged May 10, 2012 by LarryEitel

2 Answers

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“Hepatitis C is a silent epidemic in America. Millions of Americans have chronic hepatitis C, which is caused through infection with the hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer. As many as 75 percent of people who are living with hepatitis C don't know they are infected.”

Combating Viral Hepatitis: 2012 Hepatitis Testing Day and the One-Year Anniversary on U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Action Plan for the Prevention and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis

Thursday, May 17th

Negative testing can mean that antibodies have not yet been made to detectable levels. Thus some say- in western lands rate of infection of hep C is 1 in a million more or less per unit transfused. 

The question is not so much is the product safer or "safer" but what is the clinical outcome for patients?

The Hepatitis C Crisis

Hepatitis C is the most common, chronic blood-borne viral infection in the U.S. 

  • An estimated 5 million Americans have been infected with the hepatitis C virus.
  • 2 out of 3 people are unaware that they have the virus.
  • Hepatitis C can show no symptoms until advanced liver damage develops.
  • There is no vaccine to protect against hepatitis C infection.
  • Early diagnosis is essential to controlling the spread of
    hepatitis C.
  • Hepatitis C is a treatable disease if identified before significant complications develop.
  • Regardless of what treatment choice a person makes, it is recommended that:
    • Individuals with HCV should avoid all use of alcohol and recreational drugs.
    • Individuals with HCV should be vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
  • Chronic liver disease is among the top ten killers of Americans 25 years of age and older.
  • Hepatitis C is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the U.S. accounting for 40-60% of all cases.
  • Hepatitis C is the most common indication for adult liver transplantation in the United States.
  • Complications associated with HCV-related cirrhosis are projected to increase dramatically in the next decade - liver failure by 106%, liver cancer by 81%, and liver-related deaths by 180%.
  • HCV-related end-stage liver disease is a leading cause of death among people coinfected with HIV.
  • The social and fiscal costs of HCV are skyrocketing. The projected costs of the current HCV epidemic, if left unchecked, will be over $85 billion for the next decade.
  • Inadequate funding has seriously impaired HCV prevention and control efforts. Coordinated national, state, and local programs with consistent, sustained funding are essential to mount an effective response to the hepatitis C epidemic.
  • Adequately funded research is a critical component of HCV prevention and control.
answered May 16, 2012 by pnutts (1,820 points)
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Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA) is used for the qualitative detection of antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2 in a combined ChLIA test that uses human serum or plasma. HIV-1 and HIV- 2 confirmation is performed using one or a combination of tests including an HIV-1 indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and HIV-2 EIA; a rapid diagnostic test is used for HIV-1 and HIV-2 differentiation. HIV-1 antibody detection includes the major HIV groups and variants including HIV-1 Group O. HIV RNA detection by NAT, using TMA in minipools of 16 (as described for HBV testing), closes the window period between infection and the detection of antibody by about 4-7 days. The current risk of transfusion-transmission of HIV is approximately 1 in 2,000,0001.
answered May 16, 2012 by Hatice Simsek MD (3,070 points)

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