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Hepatitis C infection after blood product transfusion.
  1. D A Kelly
  1. Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Trust, Ladywood Middleway, Ladywood.


    HCV infection has been demonstrated in multiply transfused children who received blood products or transplanted organs before universal screening in 1990. The risk of active infection is related to the number of transfusions or pooled blood products. Accurate diagnosis of infection is dependent on utilisation of third generation RIBA and identification of HCV RNA by RT-PCR. The natural history of HCV in childhood is undetermined and prospective long term studies should be undertaken. It is likely that about develop chronic hepatitis with progression at some time to cirrhosis and have an increased risk of developing liver cancer. Treatment with interferon alfa may be effective in up to 50% of children and only those children with documented infection with HCV RNA should be selected for treatment. In order to answer important questions about natural history, outcome, and the necessity and efficacy of treatment response, treatment for these children should only be as part of scientifically conducted studies on a multicentre basis.

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