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Seroprevalence of hepatitis C virus markers in multi-transfused children with beta-thalassemia

Background

To study the seroprevalence of hepatitis C virus in multi-transfused children with β-thalassemia and compared with non transfused children and healthy controls. β-thalassemic children fail to thrive, with growth and developmental retardation and suffer microcytic hypochromic anemia. Since regular blood transfusions are given to maintain haemoglobin at a safe level, these children are at a high risk of acquiring hepatitis C virus through transfusions.

Methods

Study group, consisted of children 2-13 years with β-thalassemia and received more than 5 transfusions. Matched control group consisted of 30 children with β-thalassemia and no transfusion. Control group, consisted of 30 normal healthy children serum samples from all three groups were tested for antibodies to hepatitis C virus using commercial ELISA kits.

Results

Study showed 32% anti H hepatitis C virus positivity in multi-transfused and 0% in matched and healthy control groups. Hepatitis C virus infection showed a significant increase in relation to the number of transfusions received.

Conclusion

This observation is of great concern, as these children are at a risk of developing chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Since vaccination against hepatitis C virus is not available, highly sensitive and specific screening methods of donor blood in blood banks must be made mandatory.

Author information

Correspondence to Kiran Madhusudhan.

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Keywords

  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma
  • Chronic Hepatitis
  • Healthy Control Group
  • Safe Level
  • Blood Bank