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Euro Surveill. 2005 Feb;10(2):5-8.

Trends in risk of transfusion-transmitted viral infections (HIV, HCV, HBV) in France between 1992 and 2003 and impact of nucleic acid testing (NAT).

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Institut de Veille Sanitaire, Saint-Maurice, France.


Monitoring trends in residual risk of transfusion-transmitted viral infections is important to assess improvements in blood safety and to adapt the risk reduction policies. These trends were analysed in France over 4 periods of 3 years (1992-1994, 1995-1997, 1998-2000 and 2001-2003). The 2001-2003 estimates were compared to the results of HIV-1 and HCV NAT implemented on all blood donations in July 2001. Due to improvements in donor recruitment and selection, continuing progress in screening assays, and preventive measures taken in the community to control infections, a significant decrease was observed in residual risks for HIV, HCV and HBV between 1992 and 2003. The residual risk is currently extremely low: for the 2001-2003 period, this risk was estimated at 1 in 3.15 million donations for HIV, at 1 in 10 million for HCV and at 1 in 640,000 for HBV. Of the 6.14 million donations screened with NAT between July 2001 and December 2003 in France, 2 HIV-positive and 3 HCV-positive donations were discarded thanks to NAT, representing a yield of 1 in 3.07 million for HIV and 1 in 2.05 million for HCV. These results show the limited benefit of NAT and suggest that its cost-effectiveness is poor.

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