A review of general hepatitis C virus lookbacks in Canada.
ABSTRACT This article reviews the Canadian experience with general hepatitis C virus (HCV) lookback programmes.
Comprehensive literature searches were conducted in PubMed, Medline, HealthSTAR and EMBASE. In addition, bibliographic searches were performed on all retrieved articles, and provinces were contacted to determine whether they had performed general HCV lookbacks.
Of the seven Canadian general HCV lookbacks identified, two focused specifically on the paediatric population. The proportion of transfused patients presumed to be alive varied from 48.9 to 97.5%. Between 55.3 and 99.1% of letters were successfully delivered. The proportion of patients tested for HCV and subsequently found to be HCV positive varied considerably (66.2-80.4% and 0.9-5.0%, respectively). Newly diagnosed patients represented 42-58% of cases identified.
The Canadian general HCV lookback experience successfully identified previously undiagnosed HCV-positive patients, but the resources required to notify patients are high and the yield is relatively low. The effectiveness may be greatest in the paediatric population.
Article: Hepatitis C lookback in Canada.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Since March 1990, all blood donations in Canada are screened by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (EIA) for antibodies to HCV, with confirmatory testing done using a recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA). Because HCV may cause chronic asymptomatic hepatitis, in 1995, the Canadian Red Cross began targeted HCV lookback studies on all confirmed positive donations. These have been continued by the two new operators of the blood system in Canada, Héma-Québec and the Canadian Blood Services. Subsequent to recommendations made in the public inquiry into the Canadian blood system, led by judge Krever, general lookback through letter notification of all patients transfused in the years prior to the introduction of anti-HCV testing was initiated in several pediatric hospitals, and later in several Canadian provinces. Targeted HCV lookback was done for all donors confirmed positive by RIBA testing from the start of HCV testing in 1990. In 1999, stored RIBA 2 indeterminate samples were re-tested by RIBA 3, and lookback performed on confirmed positive donations. In the province of Quebec, hospitals were surveyed to determine methods and resources involved in lookback. Provinces performing general letter notification entered hospital transfusion records into a central transfusion data bank, and performed linkage with other provincial data banks to remove deceased patients and obtain current addresses. As of January 2000, targeted lookback had been completed on 4,859 components of 1,628 anti-HCV positive repeat donors. 2,991 recipients were deceased, and 451 were not found or tested. Of the 1,422 recipients tested, 954 (67%) were anti-HCV positive. Approximately half were already aware of their HCV status. Lookback efforts in hospitals were hampered by lack of resources and manual records. General letter notification in British Columbia (BC) and Prince Edward Island (PEI) led to the testing of 38,960 and 1,953 recipients respectively, with 5.0 and 2.2% of tested recipients found to be anti-HCV positive. In completed targeted lookback investigations, 19% of components are eventually linked to an anti-HCV positive recipient. These results are very similar to those obtained in other countries, such as Denmark and the UK. In general letter notification lookbacks, the frequency of anti-HCV in the tested recipients is approximately twice the frequency of the general population.Vox Sanguinis 02/2000; 78 Suppl 2:249-52. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A random-primed complementary DNA library was constructed from plasma containing the uncharacterized non-A, non-B hepatitis (NANBH) agent and screened with serum from a patient diagnosed with NANBH. A complementary DNA clone was isolated that was shown to encode an antigen associated specifically with NANBH infections. This clone is not derived from host DNA but from an RNA molecule present in NANBH infections that consists of at least 10,000 nucleotides and that is positive-stranded with respect to the encoded NANBH antigen. These data indicate that this clone is derived from the genome of the NANBH agent and are consistent with the agent being similar to the togaviridae or flaviviridae. This molecular approach should be of great value in the isolation and characterization of other unidentified infectious agents.Science 05/1989; 244(4902):359-62. · 31.03 Impact Factor
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