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Objectives: A look-back study was conducted to determine the clinical significance of occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) blood transfusion in an HBV hyperendemic area. Aim: To improve the blood transfusion safety. Background: Occult HBV is transmissible through blood transfusion in HBV-naIve recipients. However, its impact on recipients with prevalent HBV infection in HBV hyperendemic areas is unclear. Methods/Materials: In 2006, 12 occult HBV blood donors were found from 10 824 repository samples by nucleic acid testing. The 74 corresponding recipients were identified and their pre- and post-transfusion clinical information was gathered, and the living recipients were recalled for follow-up. From the available archival sera, the HBV DNA was examined and sub-genomic sequences between paired donor and recipient were compared using polymerase chain reaction-based assays. Results: Among the 74 recipients, 18 were still alive and 12 returned to our clinic. From the available serological profiles, 76% of recipients had ongoing or recovered HBV infection before transfusion. Only 24 recipients had available post-transfusion serological profiles and none seroconverted to be hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive. Moreover, except for the prior HBsAg carriers, the recipients' HBV DNA levels after transfusion were low (<20 IU/mL). One recipient had identical HBV surface gene sub-genomic sequence (384 nucleotides) to his donor. After transfusion, no recipient developed post-transfusion hepatitis (PTH) and the clinical outcome was good. Conclusion: In HBV hyperendemic areas, occult hepatitis B transfusion might not lead to HBsAg carriage or PTH. The risk of transfusion-transmitted HBV infection was probably lower than that in non-endemic areas because most recipients had already experienced HBV infection.
Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University College of Medicine and National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Transfusion medicine (Oxford, England)
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