Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Former Commercial Plasma/Blood Donors in Rural Shanxi Province, China: The China Integrated Programs for Research on AIDS

Han-Zhu Qian; Zhongmin Yang; Xiaoming Shi; Jianhua Gao; Cuiling Xu; Lan Wang; Kai Zhou; Yan Cui; Xiwen Zheng; Zunyou Wu; Fan Lu; Shenghan Lai; Vermund, Sten H.; Yiming Shao; Ning Wang
November 2005
Journal of Infectious Diseases;11/15/2005, Vol. 192 Issue 10, p1694
Academic Journal
Background. Unsafe practices during illegal plasma donation in the late 1980s and early 1990s spread blood-borne infections in central China. Methods. A cross-sectional survey of a random sample of 538 adult residents of 12 villages in rural Shanxi Province, where there had been an illegal commercial plasma-collection center, was conducted in 2003. Structured questionnaires were administered, and blood samples were tested for hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies. Results. HCV seroprevalence rates were 8.2% in all subjects, 27.7% in former commercial plasma/blood donors, and 2.6% in nondonors. Selling blood or plasma was the strongest independent predictor of HCV seropositivity (odds ratio [OR], 14.4 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 7.1-31.6]). A history of blood transfusion was also independently associated with HCV seropositivity (OR, 8.3 [95% CI, 2.1-32.0]). Plasma donors had a higher risk of being HCV seropositive than did whole-blood donors (OR, 7.6 [95% CI, 2.9-20.9]), and female donors had a lower risk than did male donors (OR, 0.32 [95% CI, 0.12-0.80]). The strength of the association between selling blood and HCV seropositivity was weaker when plasma donors were excluded (OR, 8.0 vs. 14.4). Conclusions. Unsafe practices during illegal plasma donation led to a high risk of HCV seropositivity for donors during the 1980s and 1990s. Failure to screen for HCV increased the risk of seropositivity for transfusion recipients during this same period. China has taken steps to halt illegal plasma collection and to improve blood-banking methods. However, there will be an ongoing challenge to care for patients with HCV infection, even as its incidence decreases.


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