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Transfus Med. 2008 Feb;18(1):55-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3148.2007.00806.x.

Anti-HBc screening in Egyptian blood donors reduces the risk of hepatitis B virus transmission.

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Department of Tropical Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.


Occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) in blood donors is considered as a potential risk for transmission of HBV infection. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of anti-hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBC) positivity in Egyptian blood donations as well as to estimate the frequency of HBV-DNA in anti-HBc-positive donations. The study included 760 Egyptian healthy blood donors, representing 26 different Egyptian governorates screened according to routine practice for the presence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies (Abs), HIV-1/2 Abs and Treponema Abs. The accepted blood units for donation were tested for the presence of total anti-HBc Abs by two tests. Positive units for anti-HBc were further tested for HBV-DNA by polymerase chain reaction. According to routine screening, a total of 48/760 units (6.3%) were rejected [38 (5%) HCV-Ab-positive units, 9 (1.18%) HbsAg-positive units and 1 (0.13%) Treponema-Ab-positive unit]. Among the accepted blood units for donation, prevalence of anti-HBc was 78/712 units (10.96%). HBV-DNA was detected in 9/78 (11.54%) of the anti-HBc-positive units, and thus, occult HBV infection was detected in 9/712 (1.26%) of the accepted blood donations. Implementing anti-HBc test to the routine assay for the forthcoming two decades would certainly eliminate possible HBV-infected units. Rejection of these units will be beneficial to decrease the risk of HBV transmission with its potential consequences particularly in immunocompromised recipients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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