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Emerg Infect Dis. 1998 Jan-Mar;4(1):5-11.

Risk for transfusion-transmitted infectious diseases in Central and South America.

Author information

1
Pan American Health Organization, Washington, D.C., USA. schmunig@paho.org

Abstract

We report the potential risk for an infectious disease through tainted transfusion in 10 countries of South and Central America in 1993 and in two countries of South America in 1994, as well as the cost of reagents as partial estimation of screening costs. Of the 12 countries included in the study, nine screened all donors for HIV; three screened all donors for hepatitis B virus (HBV); two screened all donors for Trypanosoma cruzi; none screened all donors for hepatitis C virus (HCV); and six screened some donors for syphilis. Estimates of the risk of acquiring HIV through blood transfusion were much lower than for acquiring HBV, HCV, or T. cruzi because of significantly higher screening and lower prevalence.rates for HIV. An index of infectious disease spread through blood transfusion was calculated for each country. The highest value was obtained for Bolivia (233 infections per 10,000 transfusions); in five other countries, it was 68 to 103 infections per 10,000. The risks were lower in Honduras (nine per 10,000), Ecuador (16 per 10,000), and Paraguay (19 per 10,000). While the real number of potentially infected units or infected persons is probably lower than our estimates because of false positives and already infected recipients, the data reinforce the need for an information system to assess the level of screening for infectious diseases in the blood supply. Since this information was collected, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Venezuela have made HCV screening mandatory; serologic testing for HCV has increased in those countries, as well as in El Salvador and Honduras. T. cruzi screening is now mandatory in Colombia, and the percentage of screened donors increased not only in Colombia, but also in Ecuador, El Salvador, and Paraguay. Laws to regulate blood transfusion practices have been enacted in Bolivia, Guatemala, and Peru. However, donor screening still needs to improve for one or more diseases in most countries.

Comment in

PMID:
9452393
PMCID:
PMC2627657
DOI:
10.3201/eid0401.980102
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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