The risk of transfusion-transmissible viral infections in the Niger-Delta area of Nigeria
AbstractBackground and objectives: Million\'s of lives are saved each year through blood transfusion. Nevertheless people have increased risk of becoming infected with transfusion - transmissible viral infections through transfusion of blood and blood products that have not been tested correctly. This study was undertaken to determine the risk of transfusion- transmissible viral infections through transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products. Methodology: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antibodies to Hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) screening was performed on 1500 consecutive blood donors in the University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State, Nigeria. Results: Of the one thousand five hundred blood donors screened, 15 (1%), 17 (1.1%) and 7 (0.5%) of donors had HIV, HBsAg and anti-HCV respectively. 12 (0.8%) had HIV-1 infection, 2 (0.1%) had HIV-2 while 1(0.07%) had dual HIV 1 and 2 infection. Two (0.1%) had co-infection of HIV and HBV. The highest HBsAg and anti-HCV burden occurred in the 18-27 years age group, 12/1026 (1.2%) and 7/1026 (0.7%) respectively, while the 28-37 years age group accounted for the highest infection burden for HIV 7/362 (1.9%). Males accounted for the highest infection burden for HBV 17/1481 (1.1%) and anti-HCV 7/1481 (0.1%) while female donors had the highest HIV prevalence 1/19 (5.3%). Commercial remunerated donors showed the highest HIV, HBsAg and anti-HCV infection rates (1.4%), (1 .7%) and (0.8%) respectively. Conclusion: This study confirms a high prevalence of transfusion-transmissible viral infections among blood donors and describes the groups that are at risk. This calls for the immediate implementation of a mandatory universal donor screening policy for screening all blood donor units intended for transfusion, the setting up of a national blood transfusion service, run on the basis of voluntary non remunerated, low risk blood donors, and health eduction of the entire Niger Delta area aimed at behavioural change from high risk behaviour that makes people vulnerable.
Keywords: blood donors, transfusion, viral infection, Niger-Delta, Nigeria
Sahel Medical Journal Vol. 8(1) 2005: 16-19