Characteristics of hepatitis C-positive blood donors in Victoria, Australia

P. Y. Wong, R. Dodd, P. Kiely, C. Carroll, G. Whyte

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Data from 3156 voluntary blood donors in Victoria, Australia, who were repeatedly reactive on anti-HCV screening test were analysed. It showed that between 1990 and 1997, 0.97% of routine blood donors were anti-HCV repeat reactive. Sixty-four (64) donors tested positive for HCV RNA. They were more likely to be male, had a mean age of 32.7 ± 10.9 years and a mean serum ALT level of 70.9 ± 46.5 iu L-1: the latter value being significantly different from donors with biological false reactivity (P<0.0001). Among HCV antibody-positive donors there was a significantly increased rate of prior injecting drug use (34 vs. 1%), transfusion (25 vs. 10%) and tattooing (31 vs. 7%) than among donors with biological false reactivity (all P < 0.0001). The association of these risk factors is stronger with positivity for both immunoblot and HCV RNA than immunoblot alone. The data suggest that efforts should be made to increase the efficacy of donor questioning about prior drug use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-19
Number of pages5
JournalTransfusion Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood donor
  • Hepatitis C antibody
  • Risk factors

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