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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
INDIA: Blood Banks Cause of Hepatitis C in Kashmir: Experts
By Muda Sir Yaqoob
January 7, 2014
Greater Kashmir (01.06.2014)

Greater Kashmir recently reported that Indian health experts claim that improper screening of blood bank donations has caused a hepatitis C epidemic in India’s northern region of Kashmir. Guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) specify that each blood donation must undergo a battery of tests and each donor submit to an exam and a series of questions to ensure the donated blood does not contain the virus. “Blood banks screen donated blood for hepatitis C by enzyme immunoassay, which can give false negative results. Therefore, donated blood is a huge source of hepatitis C virus transmission,” said Dr. Nisar-ul-Hassan, president of the Doctors Association of Kashmir. Donor testing for hepatitis C, HIV, and syphilis is mandatory in India. Nisar added that developed countries now use better testing that has practically stopped transmission of the disease through donated blood. He argued that because hepatitis C is a silent killer—it can be asymptomatic until serious liver problems develop—and has no effective vaccine, the country needs to put into place serious measures to prevent the spread of the disease.