Times of India
13 July 2010
By Ajay Parmar
At least 56 children suffering from thalassaemia tested positive for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C after receiving blood transfusion at government–run Umaid hospital in Jodhpur. They are among the 130 thalassaemic children registered with Jodhpur’s Marwar Thalassaemic Society, said a source.
In the last one–and–a–half years, at least eight thalassaemic children in the city were found to be HIV positive while 46 others were infected by hepatitis B virus prompting a probe by the state government. In December 2008, five kids tested positive for HIV and 29 for hepatitis C virus. In May 2010, three more children were found HIV positive and 17 suffered from hepatitis C.
According to the Thalassaemic Society, if all the children who received blood transfusion are tested, the numbers may go up. Unless new techniques for testing are introduced, the hazard will remain, felt society members.
Recently, members met the principal of S N Medical College and the divisional commissioner and demanded nucleic acid test at Umaid Hospital blood bank to prevent infection during transfusion.
Medical college principal R K Aseri said a proposal for nucleic acid test – which is a more advanced blood test – has been sent to Rajasthan government which is now studying expenses involved. The college has formed a three–member committee to probe if there are any flaws in blood bank’s testing methods.
The Society demanded special consideration for families below poverty line and adequate staff and resources at Umaid Hospital’s thalassaemia ward. Society secretary Vipin Gupta said, ‘‘We want blood banks to have better technology.’’ However, Raj Shree Behra, in–charge of Umaid Hospital’s blood bank, said there is no way to reduce to zero the window period, that is time taken for seroconversion after exposure to HIV virus.
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