Incidence of Hepatitis B and C Viruses in Thalassaemia Major Patients
Ahmad Farooq1, Usman Waheed2,3, Hasan Abbas Zaheer2,3, Abdul Rauf4, Abida Arshad5, and Muhammad Arshad1,*
Thalassaemia is an inherited genetic disorder of haemoglobin. It is estimated that about 100,000 patients are presently suffering from thalassaemia major, the severe form of the disorder. The patients of β-thalassaemia are dependent upon lifelong blood transfusion. Multiple transfusions expose them to many blood borne diseases, most commonly hepatitis B and C. The aim of current study was to determine the prevalence of HBV and HCV infections among thalassaemia major patients. The study was conducted from June – December 2016, at the Thalassaemia Centre, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Islamabad and the Pakistan Thalassaemia Centre, Pakistan Baitul Mal, Islamabad, Pakistan. Data were obtained by clinical testing of 1,440 ß thalassaemia major patients visiting for blood transfusions at regular intervals. The confirmatory screening for HBV and HCV was performed through Chemiluminescent Immunoassay (CLIA). Of the total 1,440 patients studied, 930 (64.6%) were males and 510 (35.4%) were females. The patient age ranged from 1 to 30 years were with mean age of 7.9±4.5 years. Among 1,440 patients, 44 patients were positive for HBV (3.05%) while 295 were positive for HCV (20.4%). This study showed that β-thalassaemia patients are at a higher risk of contracting HBV and HCV infections. Although the professional blood donors are a great risk but major concern is related to screening techniques and different laboratories are practicing variable quality of screening blood screening. All diagnostic techniques must be regulated under a standard quality control and a nation wise validation study is highly recommended.