Deaths from Blood Transfusions

Transfusion-transmitted HIV infection, although rare, likely is under-recognized, and every case warrants a detailed investigation.  CDC in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, October 22, 2010 / 59(41);1335-1339


2,000 dead and still no justice for the victims of Britain’s bloodtransfusion scandal

Tom Fogerty, in Creedance Clearwater band.  Tennis Star Arthur Ashe.  Elizabeth Glazer.  Ryan White.

Nearly all transmission of HIV through transfusion of blood or blood products occurred before screening of the blood supply for HIV antibody was initiated in 1985 (3).  The number of persons reported with AIDS who were exposed through blood transfusions was 284 in 2000, down from a peak of 1,098 in 1993.  The number of perinatally acquired AIDS cases peaked in 1992 (901 cases), followed by a sharp decline through December 1999.  In 1999, 144 cases of perinatally acquired AIDS were diagnosed.

Reported by: Surveillance Br, Div of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, CDC.

However, a 2008 report describes the first U.S. case of transfusion-transmitted HIV infection reported* to CDC since 2002.

Widespread adoption of effective HIV testing methods to screen donated blood has greatly reduced the risk for transfusion-transmitted HIV infection. The modeled risk for HIV infection from transfusion of blood products in the United States declined from one in 450,000–600,000 donations in 1995 to one in 2,135,000 donations from 1995 to 2001 after the introduction of NAT in 1999 (8) and was recently updated to one in 1,467,000 based on data from 2007–2008, which incorporates the increased incidence of HIV among blood donors (2). However, even the most sensitive screening technologies currently available cannot identify the presence of HIV infection during the first few days after infection, when neither HIV RNA nor HIV-specific antibodies have reached detectable levels.

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