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Keywords:

  • BCE(s) = blood collection establishments;
  • TS(s) = transfusion service(s)

BACKGROUND: As part of a nationwide program to identify persons at increased risk for HCV infection, persons who received blood from donors who later tested positive for anti-HCV are being directly notified.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: In December 1999, all 198 blood collection establishments (BCEs) and 5442 hospital transfusion services (TSs) in the United States were surveyed by mailed questionnaire to evaluate their progress in carrying out this notification.

RESULTS: Eighty-one percent of the BCEs and 64 percent of the TSs responded. After correcting for nonresponse, an estimated 98,484 components at potential risk for transmitting HCV, according to previous testing of multiantigen-screened donors, were identified nationwide, of which 85 percent had been transfused to recipients. Lookback for these recipients was completed for 80 percent, of whom 69 percent had died. Of those living, 78 percent were successfully notified. An estimated 49.5 percent of those notified were tested; 18.9 percent of those tested were anti-HCV positive, and 32 percent of that group knew they were positive before notification. On the basis of an 85.5 percent reported completion rate for component notifications back through 1988, an estimated 1520 persons will have been newly identified as anti-HCV-positive when lookback related to multiantigen screening of donors is completed.

CONCLUSION: Targeted lookback related to previous multiantigen screening of donors will identify <1 percent of the estimated 300,000 HCV-positive persons in the United States who may have acquired their infection via blood transfusion.