Blood recipient notification for hepatitis C in Prince Edward Island

Van Til, LInda D.; Sweet, Lamont E.
January 2000
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;1/25/2000, Vol. 162 Issue 2, p199
Academic Journal
AbstractBackground: Two of the major risk factors for hepatitis C are injection drug use and receipt of blood or blood products. Many patients are unaware that they have received transfusions. In 1998 Prince Edward Island conducted a province-wide look-back notification program to notify patients who had received transfusions in PEI between Jan. 1, 1984, and June 1, 1990. The authors present the results of the notification program.Methods: A registry for recipients of blood and blood products was created from the province's Red Cross blood bank records. The registry data were linked with Vital Statistics data to determine death status and with Health Registration data to determine residence status of recipients (in PEI or moved out of province). All identified recipients with a current PEI mailing address were sent a letter recommending hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing. Laboratory records were checked to determine HCV test results.Results: The registry contained data for 6086 recipients of blood or blood products during the look-back period; 51.1% (3109/6086) had died by the time of notification. Of the remainder, 18.4% (549/2977) were not directly notified because they had moved out of province, had refused delivery of the notification letter or had died recently, or because identifying information was missing from the blood bank records. Of the recipients who were notified 80.4% (1953/2428) underwent testing, and 2.2% (43/1953) were found to be HCV positive. Most of these (58.1% [25/43]) had undergone testing before notification. The HCV positivity rate differed significantly between recipients tested before notification and those tested after notification (9.9% v. 1.1%, p < 0.001). HCV-positive recipients were more likely than other notified recipients to have had multiple transfusions (39.5% v. 9.5%, p < 0.001).Interpretation: Before notification 4.1% of PEI recipients had undergone HCV testing. After notification 91.2% of PEI recipients were identified as te...


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