Jpn. J. Infect. Dis., 57, 49-51, 2004

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Short Communication

Markers for Transfusion-Associated Hepatitis in North Indian Blood Donors: Prevalence and Trends

Bharat Singh*, Monika Verma1 and Karttikaye Verma2**

Department of Regional Blood Transfusion Centre (East) and Pathology and 2Department of Orthopaedics, University College of Medical Sciences and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital and 1Pathology Department, University College of Medical Science, Delhi 110095, India

(Received October 20, 2003. Accepted January 20, 2004)

*Corresponding author: Mailing address: Department of Regional Blood Transfusion Centre (East) and Pathology, University College of Medical Sciences and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Shahdara, Delhi 110095, India. Tel & Fax: +91-11-22130973, E-mail:,

**Present address: Old Church Hospital, Romford, United Kingdom

SUMMARY: Transfusion-associated hepatitis is a great problem in developing countries including India due to endemic hepatitis infections and a lack of voluntary donors, trained personnel, and funds. The prevalence of post-transfusion hepatitis B and C in India is about 1-5% and 1%, respectively. A total of 128,589 blood donors were screened for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and 76,089 donors were screened for anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) from 1997 - 2002. Data were tabulated annually. Out of the total 83.6% were replacement donors. Our study concluded that the prevalence of HBsAg and antibodies for HCV ranged between 1.7 - 2.2% and 0.25 - 0.9%, respectively among all of the donors. Seropositivity was definitely higher in replacement donors than in voluntary donors. Based on these results, we recognize an urgent need to establish a non-remunerated voluntary donor base in India. A stringent deferral system should be developed. The use of sensitive laboratory tests and the addition of core antigen (anti-HBc) to the mandatory screening test list would further reduce the incidence of post-transfusion hepatitis.

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