The risk of transfusion- acquired hepatitis - C virus infection among blood donors in Port Harcourt: the question of blood safety in Nigeria
AbstractObjective: This study was undertaken to establish the sero-epidemology of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) antibodies among blood donors in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Methods: One Thousand Five Hundred consecutive blood donors presenting to the blood transfusion unit of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital between January and April, 2003 comprising of 1481 males and 19 females were screened for hepatitis C antibodies using the commercially available Clinotech anti-HCV test strips. All initially positive samples were subsequently tested using a second-generation Trinity Biotec enzyme linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: HCV antibodies were detected in 7(0.5%) of donors. Although statistically not significant, the overall sero prevalence of HCV antibodies was higher in males 7 (0.5%) compared to zero prevalence among females. (χ2 = 1.94, p = 1.000). Commercial remunerated donors had a higher prevalence of anti-HCV anti-bodies 5 (0.8%) compared to family replacement donors (0.2%) (χ2 = 1.25, p = 0.26). The highest infection rate occurred in the 18 - 27 years age group 7 (0.7%).
Conclusion: This study shows a 0.5% prevalence of HCV antibodies among blood donors and describes their demographic characteristics. This calls for urgent implementation of a universal donor screening for HCV antibodies and setting up of a national blood transfusion service run on the basis of voluntary, non-remunerated low risk donors.
Keywords: HCV antibodies, blood donors, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice Vol. 9(1) 2006: 18-21