Background Due to multiple transfusions, thalassaemia patients have been exposed to a wide range of blood-borne viruses, among which the human immune deficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B have a considerable impact on their lives.
Methods 400 thalassaemia patients mean age 17 years, range 2–52 years, female 46.8%, male 53.3%, were evaluated for hepatitis B, C, HIV, EBV (IgG, IgM), CMV (IgG, IgM), SGOT, SGPT and serum ferritin.
Results Among 400 patients 4 (1%; 3 male, 1 female) were HBS Ag positive, 7 (1.75%; 3 male, 4 female) anti IgM CMV positive, 3 (0.75%; 3 male) IgM anti EBV positive, 97 (24.3%; 63 male, 34 female) anti HCV positive; among this, 65 (16.3%) were HCV RNA positive, and nobody was HIV positive. Mean SGOT 63.28 (range 16–554), SGPT 77.84 (range 9–961), ferritin 1946.43.
Conclusion In thalassaemia major, the survival rate and quality of life is dependant on safe and adequate blood; efforts must be focused on safe blood and blood production.