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World J Gastroenterol. Jul 21, 2007; 13(27): 3730-3733
Published online Jul 21, 2007. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v13.i27.3730
Significant increase in HBV, HCV, HIV and syphilis infections among blood donors in West Bengal, Eastern India 2004-2005: Exploratory screening reveals high frequency of occult HBV infection
Prasun Bhattacharya, Partha Kumar Chandra, Sibnarayan Datta, Arup Banerjee, Subhashish Chakraborty, Krishnan Rajendran, Subir Kumar Basu, Sujit Kumar Bhattacharya, Runu Chakravarty
Prasun Bhattacharya, Subhashish Chakraborty, Subir Kumar Basu, Institute of Blood Transfusion Medicine and Immunohematology, Kolkata, India
Partha Kumar Chandra, Sibnarayan Datta, Arup Banerjee, Runu Chakravarty, ICMR Virus Unit, Kolkata, India
Krishnan Rajendran, Sujit Kumar Bhattacharya, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Kolkata, India
Author contributions: All authors contributed equally to the work.
Supported by grants partly from West Bengal State AIDS Prevention & Control Society, Kolkata and partly by Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi. Partha Kumar Chandra received a research associateship from West Bengal State AIDS Prevention & Control Society, Kolkata. Arup Banerjee received a senior research fellowship from Indian Council of Medical Research New Delhi; Sibnarayan Datta received a senior research fellowship from University Grants Commission, New Delhi
Correspondence to: Runu Chakravarty, Indian Council of Medical Research Virus Unit, GB 4, 1st Floor, ID & BG Hospital Campus, Kolkata-700010, India. runugc@yahoo.com.uk
Telephone: +33-23-537425/4 Fax: +33-23-537425
Received: January 2, 2007
Revised: January 8, 2007
Accepted: January 10, 2007
Published online: July 21, 2007

AIM: To evaluate the prevalence of markers of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among blood donors in Kolkata, Eastern India for two consecutive years and to conduct a pilot study to explore the presence of HBV DNA among hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) negative but anti-HBc positive blood donors.

METHODS: Seroprevalence of HBsAg, anti-HCV and anti-HIV was studied among 113 051 and 106 695 voluntary blood donors screened in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Moreover, a pilot study on 1027 HBsAg negative donors was carried out for evaluating the presence of HBV DNA by PCR on HBsAg negative/anti-HBc positive donors.

RESULTS: A statistically significant increase in the prevalence of HBV (1448 vs 1768, P < 0.001), HIV (262 vs 374, P < 0.001), HCV (314 vs 372, P = 0.003) and syphilis (772 vs 853, P = 0.001) infections was noted among blood donors of Kolkata West Bengal in 2005 as compared to 2004. Moreover, the exploratory study on 1027 HBsAg negative donors revealed that 188 (18.3%) of them were anti-HBc positive out of which 21% were positive for HBV DNA.

CONCLUSION: The findings of this study underscore the significantly increasing endemicity of hepatitis viruses, syphilis and HIV among the voluntary blood donors of our community. The pilot study indicates a high rate of prevalence of HBV DNA among HBsAg negative/anti-HBc positive donors and thus emphasizes the need for a more sensitive and stringent screening algorithm for blood donations.

Keywords: Hepatitis B virus, Human immunodeficiency virus, Hepatitis C virus, Blood donation, Occult HBV infection