Japanese Patient Infected With HIV Through Blood Transfusion After New Screening System Implemented
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare last week announced that a Japanese patient has been infected with HIV through a blood transfusion after blood tainted with the virus slipped through the Japan Red Cross's new screening system, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports. The infection represents the first time since the country established its new blood screening program in 1999 that anyone in the country has been infected with HIV from a blood transfusion, Health Ministry spokesperson Kazunari Tanaka said. The infection was discovered after a blood donor tested positive for the virus on Nov. 16, 2003, and said that he had previously given blood. Although the donor's blood had been tested before his first donation in May 2003, antibodies for the virus were not detected, according to Tanaka. Blood from the donor's May donation was incorporated into three blood units, one of which was used in the Japanese patient's transfusion. The other two units had not been used, indicating that no further infections could result from the tainted blood donation, Tanaka said. It is the second time that HIV-tainted blood has passed through the Japan Red Cross detection system, but the first time did not result in any infections, according to the AP/Sun (Mizoguchi, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 12/29/03).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.