Blood donor screening for Hepatitis B and C in Benghazi: additional

Original article


Nureddin A. Doghman 1, Muftah Y. Ali 2, Fatma I. Najem 3, Saber A. El-Saety 4

1-Department of Peadiatric, Faculty of Medicine, Garyounis University. 2-Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Garyounis University. 3-Center of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. 4-Blood Bank, Alfateh Children Hospital, Benghazi, Libya.

Libyan J Infect Dis. Vol. 1, No.2. July-2007:100-102


Background: Traditionally prevention of transfusion-transmitted viral infections relies on screening blood donors using enzyme immunoassays (EIA). To further enhance blood safety some countries employ anti-HBc testing to detect HBsAg negative donors. Improving safety is further complemented by genome screening using nucleic acid amplified technology (NAT).
Aim of study: to determine whether there is a need to reform our strategy for blood donor screening.
Setting: The central laboratory at Al-Fateh Children Hospital and the laboratory of the Center of Immunology and Infectious Diseases.
Materials and Methods: Blood donations previously collected and screened in the central blood bank were re-tested in our laboratories by EIA for HIV, HCV, and HBsAg. In addition samples from the same units were tested for anti-HBc using EIA and for HCV using NAT.
Results: A total of 100 blood donations were tested. All were negative for HBsAg, HIV, and HCV using EIA techniques. Ten (10%) units were anti-HBc reactive and six (6%) units were HCV-NAT reactive.
Conclusion: Our results show that although all donations pass the traditional screening tests, using additional tests revealed that ten percent of them was potentially infectious for hepatitis B and another six percent was potentially infectious for hepatitis C. These findings clearly call for a genuine need to reform our policy for blood donor screening. Additional tests, namely the anti-HBc and nucleic acid amplification tests, need to be urgently introduced.

Keywords: Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, anti-HBc, HCV-NAT, blood transfusion, blood screening.