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Chances of catching hepatitis C and HIV from blood transfusion now?

My sister has been ill this year. Had surgery in Aug 06 and received 2 units of blood. Has now been diagnosed with Hep C and is being tested for HIV. Dr thinks she got it from the blood transfusions. Other causes are pretty much ruled out. (She is in a monogomous relationship and does not do drugs.) I thought they tested blood for these things. Is it possible that the test missed these things?

Thanks, everyone. My sister received the last of her test results - HEP C 1A - which is one of the most resistant to treatment, but we are hopeful. GOOD NEWS - NO HIV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also, her fiance is negative for HEP C.

Have you heard the news about the Red Cross being fined for safety precautions re: their blood supply? The dr thinks this may be related.

Hepatitis C is the most common cause of transfusion-related hepatitis. In recent years about 30,000 new cases occur each year in the US, despite VERY rigorous testing of blood and equally rigorous criteria restricting who can and who cannot donate blood. The reason hepatitis C continues to be a transfusion risk is that some patients who donate blood are infected and don't know it, and they have no history of illness to suggest prior infection because many cases of hepatitis C infection produce no symptoms at the time of infection. But most important, these "silent" infected patients cannot be detected by any know test.

Blood is tested for them but like all things, human error can intervene.
Statisically the chances must be very small...I wish your sister well...;

It's possible but unlikely. There is not a zero chance but the blood has been tested thoroughly for last 11 years. It's possible the donor had it recently however. The test is not 100 percent but it remains unlikely. (The current estimate is 1 in 103,000.)

I Think Donated Blood is Routinely Tested for These Organisms, it was Not Always So.

I am sorry about your sister. I will pray for her health and pray she has none of the other diseases she is being tested for.

Nowadays the risk of catching hepatitis C from a blood transfusion is extremely low, because blood banks now screen all donated blood. As with hepatitis B it is possible to be a symptom-free carrier of the virus. Hepatitis B sufferers in the acute stage of infection and all hepatitis C patients should consider themselves infectious.
What causes Hepatitis?
It can be caused by excessive alcohol, toxic chemicals, incorrect diet, some drugs such as paracetamol, autoimmune diseases, poisons, non-viral infections like Q fever, and various viral infections including glandular fever as well as some diseases of the biliary system and viral infections. Viruses, which attack liver cells, are known as hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, F and G. Other viruses of both new and old varieties can also attack the liver such as Epstein Barr virus (glandular fever virus) and the cocksackie virus.

They do have a case where a guy did get HIV through blood donation even after 1987. That is scary....!!!! It was in 2002.
Donated blood in the U.S. has been screened for HIV antibodies since 1987. However, HIV antibodies only show up in a person's blood several weeks -- or even months -- after infection. A new test that looks for traces of the AIDS virus itself has been used since 1999 to cut down this window of vulnerability. But even the new test can't eliminate all risk.

The most likely possibility is that the donor gave blood before enough HIV had built up in his blood for even this very sensitive test to pick up the infection.

Even so, the U.S. blood supply remains safe, say officials at the CDC, the FDA, and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB).

"The blood supply is extremely safe. There is a risk, but it is quite rare for this to happen," CDC spokeswoman Kathryn Bina tells WebMD.

The AABB says the risk of getting HIV from a blood transfusion is about one in 2 million.

"We strongly believe the blood supply is the safest it has ever been," an AABB spokeswoman tells WebMD. "In order to ensure the highest degree of safety, the blood-banking and transfusion community continues to implement safety advances. However, even with the most advanced technology available, there are still very minimal risks associated with transfusion."

Is the risk worth it?

"The important thing people need to remember is that for any patient who needs a blood transfusion, the risk of not receiving blood far outweighs the risk of getting HIV," an FDA spokeswoman tells WebMD.

Blood donation centers don't rely only on testing blood. They also ask donors a series of questions about their HIV risk. People whose behavior puts them at risk of HIV infection are not allowed to donate blood.

The infected blood given to the Texas man came from a donor who didn't think he was at risk of HIV. According to an Associated Press report, he is a heterosexual man. The man donated blood four times during 2000. At the time of his last donation, tests showed that the blood carried HIV. This prompted intensive testing of samples from all of his previous donations -- including the blood given to the Texas man, which carried small amounts of the AIDS virus.

How terrible... I am so sorry to hear that. It must be possible because the consent you have to sign states that there is a possibility of contracting bloodborne illnesses such as HIV and Hepatitis, but it is highly unlikely because the blood is tested thoroughly. I am sure it does happen in rare cases. Best wishes for your sister.


The blood is tested and the risk is less than 1%. Although human error is always possible, the most likely problem is early infection. Peopled who have just been exposed to HepC before donation will feel heathy and have no symptoms. They will not have time to have produced antibodies and the level of virus may be too low to measure.

There is all but no chance it came from the blood transfusion. The system is standardized & they use a nationwide data base to eliminate anyone who has ever tested positive. Different types of tests have different error rates. They use the ones with the most false positives & least negatives. The protocol is very strict. Much more so than in a hospital, by the way.

I was a blood donor for about 8 years. I showed positive for Hep B about 13 years ago. A false positive, according to 5 screenings since. I really hope this is true in her case.

I assume her partner has been tested & the Hep screen re-done. If not, they need to be. Living with my "diagnosis" for a year, I know how scary this is. I have some friends with Hep C. Only 1 got his from a transfusion over 20 years ago, when nobody knew much about it. Most of them have gone over 10 years & doing OK. 2 or 3 have been through experimental drug therapies & are, so far, testing negative. All these people have been off all alcohol & drugs. 2, who couldn't, are gone. I will have you in my prayers, wishing the best for all of you.

blood transfusion seldom is the route of such an infection especially in advanced and modern health parameters taken in consideration in medical practice nowadays, but in suburban communities where blood testing for these hazards are not done well ,posibility of HIV and HCV are expected

thats a hard quwstion to answer for they are to test the blood before they administer to anyone. If thats the case I d seek legal help for medical malpractice

hep c is tricky, sharing jewelery,razors,tooth brushes,snorting drugs, tats etc are ways,military vaccines.i have hep c type 2b ,if you want info i will tell you what has been workin for me.i treat alternative,and now feel great again.

Yes it is possible. Sadly it is very possible in some areas. There was a recent article about a new process that will allow the culturing of HCV to be easier, more effective, and more available.
I have a friend who was in a car wreck in a rural area of Texas. He was eventually pulled out by local fire dept. using jaws of life. During the operations needed to save his life and then to save his leg he was given 6 units of blood. When I met him in 1986, his leg had healed and he used a special riser in his shoe to compensate for the 3" difference in length between his legs.
He donated blood regularly because he felt that without the "gift of life" from others he would not have lived, and it was his duty to help others by in turn giving them the "gift of life".
In 2002 he called me to ask questions about HCV (Hep. C Virus), as he had just been diagnosed with it. It turned out he had HCV type 4. He recieved treatment and has tested clear since then. He can no longer give blood, they won't accept it from previous carriers, even if clear with no trace of HCV for 10 years.
The point is he wasn't discovered as a carrier from 1986 to 2002
and donated blood that whole time. How had they missed it? Well it seems that in more rural areas that hold their own blood drives, they couldn't get antibody test kits or genetic tests as they were just too expensive. (The new culturing ability may take care of that problem) So they used a less expensive test for the enzymes released by damage to the liver(ALT & AST).
That explains how he got it, but why hadn't they they found he was a carrier, and why did the letter to him tell him only that something was wrong with his liver, and to get in touch with his Dr? THEY STILL USE IT! It is considered to be accurate enough to determine the likelyhood of the presence of HCV. That is also where the "newly infected" can slip through.
An infection of HCV is first characterised by an "acute" case of HCV. That's when it is actively invading and evading the bodies natural immune system. That is when the antibodies are first formed in response to HCV, so there is actually a very short time when someone is undetectable due to "recent" infection.
I'm really hoping that this new culturing method will take the ALT / AST testing right out of the loop, it's the reason that our blood supply is not as pure as they'd have us believe.

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