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Transfusion. 2003 Apr;43(4):536-40.

Transmission of hepatitis A via WBC-reduced RBCs and FFP from a single donation.

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Department of Pathology, University of South Alabama Medical Center, 2451 Fillingim Street, Mobile, AL 36617, USA.



Currently, individuals donating whole blood and cellular components are not screened for hepatitis A (HA). However, transfusion-transmitted HA can occur, albeit very rarely. Although infection is typically mild and self-limited, it may be catastrophic in a small percentage of cases. Two cases of HA transmission from a single donation to two patients with subsequent variable morbidity are reported.


A 50-year-old, asymptomatic, volunteer blood donor made a whole-blood donation. He was found to have HA 18 days later. When notified, the donor center initiated a recall of the components produced from the donated unit. However, the RBCs and FFP had already been transfused. Subsequently, both recipients developed HA as documented by IgM anti-HA serology. The RBC recipient was a 49-year-old woman, transfused after a hysterectomy, who was found to have HA at the time of unit recall (20 days after transfusion). Her condition required the use of medical disability leave. The FFP was infused to a 52-year-old female cardiac surgical patient. Her course was marked by multiple complications, including postoperative development of mild hepatic dysfunction. After testing negative for HA, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C (24 days after transfusion), she suffered a second bout of more severe hepatic dysfunction and was documented to have HA at Day 55 after transfusion. Evaluation of both recipients' close contacts revealed no evidence for exposure to HA by any route other than transfusion.


HA can be transmitted by transfusion of units obtained from asymptomatic, infectious donors. Two patients contracted HA from components obtained from a single whole-blood donation. The RBC recipient had a typical self-limited course of HA. The FFP recipient developed HA of relatively delayed onset. Both recovered from HA.

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