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Ann Intern Med. 1984 Dec;101(6):733-8.

Hepatitis B virus antibody in blood donors and the occurrence of non-A, non-B hepatitis in transfusion recipients. An analysis of the Transfusion-Transmitted Viruses Study.


Patients who received transfusions and nontransfused control patients were followed to assess the incidence and cause of post-transfusion hepatitis and to identify donor factors that might relate to risk of hepatitis. We evaluated as risk factors in donors the presence of antibody to hepatitis B virus compared with elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level. Units of blood that were positive for antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) were associated with a twofold to threefold greater risk of non-A, non-B hepatitis in the recipients than were units without anti-HBc. In the absence of specific serologic tests for non-A, non-B agents, screening of donors for anti-HBc might be considered. Our data suggest that the incidence of non-A, non-B hepatitis might have been reduced by about one third by such screening. However, elevated ALT levels in donors had a similar association with non-A, non-B hepatitis in recipients but would have resulted in fewer units of blood being discarded than would screening for anti-HBc.

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