Risk of hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission by anti-HCV-negative blood components in Austria and Germany
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- Riggert, J., Schwartz, D.W.M., Uy, A. et al. Ann Hematol (1996) 72: 35. doi:10.1007/BF00663014
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In order to estimate the residual risk of transfusion-transmitted HCV infection, we have analyzed data from two transfusion centers in Austria (Vienna) and Germany (G6ttingen) from 1990 to 1995. In Vienna, the seroprevalence (RIBA-confirmed third-generation anti-HCV tests) was 0.28% in first-time donors (FTD) and the incidence of seroconversion in repeat donors (RD) was 0.049 (per 100 person years) from 1994 to 1995. In Göttingen, the prevalence of a PCR-confirmed positive third-generation anti-HCV test was 0.22% in FTDs and the incidence was 0.093 (per 100 person years). A continuous decline of the rate of anti-HCV-positive donations and donors was observed with first- and second-generation anti-HCV tests in the years 1990–1994. The introduction of the third-generation anti-HCV test resulted in increased numbers of anti-HCV positive repeat donors, mainly due to false-positive results. Only 9% of anti-HCV-positive repeat donors were either PCR positive or RIBA positive or indeterminate. Based on a mathematical model which takes (a) the window period, (b) the false-negative rate of anti-HCV tests, and (c) human and operational errors into consideration, we have calculated the residual risk of HCV infection. We used a window period of 74 days, a sensitivity of 98%, and an error rate of 0.1%. The residual risk (for third-generation anti-HCV test-negative blood components) was calculated to be 1:9000 (95% confidence interval 1:16390–1:6210) and 1:4800 (95% confidence interval 1:40000–1:1320) for Vienna and Göttingen, respectively, in 1994 and 1995. Since this conservative approach does not take the impact of ALAT screening into account, the actual risk is probably lower.