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Transfusion. 2007 Aug;47(8):1534-9.

Evaluating the impact of public health notification of suspected transfusion-transmissible hepatitis C virus infection and effectiveness of lookback and traceback investigations by Canadian Blood Services in British Columbia, Canada, August 2002 through February 2005.

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1
British Columbia Center for Disease Control, Canadian Blood Services, BC & Yukon Center, 4750 Oak Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Suspected transfusion-transmissible infections (TTIs) have been reported to public health (PH) in British Columbia (BC) since August 2002. The impact of PH notification of suspected transfusion-transmissible hepatitis C virus (TT-HCV) infection over the first 2.5 years and the effectiveness of HCV lookback (LB) and traceback (TB) investigations conducted by Canadian Blood Services (CBS) in BC were evaluated.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:

Suspected TT-HCV cases reported to CBS in BC between August 28, 2002, and February 28, 2005, were analyzed. The incremental yield of plausible TTIs from PH-reported suspected TTIs was calculated. The effectiveness of LB and TB investigations was assessed with respect to the impact of improved anti-HCV donor screening, the number of newly recognized HCV infections, and the timeliness of initiating investigations.

RESULTS:

Nine of 553 (1.6%) investigations were initiated after PH reporting, yielding an additional 2 of 237 (i.e., 0.8%) plausible TTIs. Ninety-two percent of investigations with transfused units involved transfusions before implementing second-generation anti-HCV enzyme immunoassay (EIA) donor screening. Almost one-third of HCV-infected persons in linked investigations (i.e., LB triggered by a TB and vice versa) were newly identified. Recently tested, PH-reported cases incurred a mean delay exceeding 6 months until initiating a LB or TB investigation.

CONCLUSION:

PH reporting of TTIs and investigating transfusions after second-generation anti-HCV EIA donor screening identified few plausible TT-HCV infections. Many HCV-infected recipients or lapsed donors first became aware of their infection status as a result of CBS investigations. The current process of reporting suspected TTIs incurs significant time delay.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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