Letters

Transfusion transmitted infection

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7262.704/a (Published 16 September 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:704

Did authors systematically underestimate risks of transfusion?

  1. Gregor Caspari (gregor.j.caspari@viro.med.uni-giessen.de), research fellow
  1. Institute of Clinical Chemistry, Justus Liebig University, 35392 Giessen, Germany
  2. National Blood Service, North London Centre, London NW9 5BG

    EDITOR—There are three different ways of estimating the residual risk of infections transmitted by blood transfusion: follow up of recipients of the blood; screening donated blood with more sensitive tests than routinely used (for example, nucleic acid amplification); and estimating the number of undetectable infectious units from seroconversions of repeat donors.

    In their prospective follow up study of 5579 out of 9220 patients Regan et al did not detect a single transfusion transmitted infection.1 In view of estimated risks of lower than 1 in 100 000 for transmission of hepatitis B and C viruses and lower than 1 in 1 million for transmission of HIV, however, such a result was not unexpected. The estimate would change dramatically if only one of the 657 participants not followed up …

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