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Donated blood in Kashmir not safe for transfusion: DAK

Donated blood in Kashmir not safe for transfusion: DAK

Srinagar, Jun 13 (UNI) Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) today said that donated blood in Kashmir was not safe for transfusion as Kashmir continued to use traditional methods thus jeopardising the safety of patients through blood transfusion when several states in India have adopted NAT to screen blood. “Although blood transfusion is life-saving, but unsafe blood transfusion is life-threatening”, said DAK president Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement on the World Blood Donor Day here. Outmoded screening tests being done on donated blood banks in the Valley put patients at risk of life-threatening infections, he said. He said blood banks screen blood and blood products for Hepatitis B, C and HIV viruses by conventional enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test that does not detect very early stages of infection in donated blood. These viruses have a “window period” of weeks to months during which the virus does not show up in the conventional test. During this period, any donated blood will transmit the infection to the recipient. He said according to various studies one in every 500 units of blood collected from a donor can easily be missed by ELISA test even if it is infected. In order to ensure safe blood, many countries have switched from ElISA to Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) technology for screening of donated blood. Dr Hassan said NAT detects viruses even in the window period and its introduction has eliminated the transmission of deadly viruses by blood transfusion. While several states in India have adopted NAT to screen blood, blood banks in Kashmir continue to use traditional methods thus jeopardizing the safety of blood. The infected blood is responsible for colossal hepatitis epidemic in the valley. Out of 90 hemophiliac patients screened, 45 patients were positive for Hepatitis C, 4 for Hepatitis B and one was positive for HIV. The DAK president said that these hemophiliac patients have contracted this deadly virus because of contaminated fresh frozen plasma (FFP), a blood product which they receive on demand during bleeding. According to a study, 38 per cent of the population of two twin villages of Takia-Magam and Sonbarie were found to be infected with Hepatitis C virus. During a screening in 2015, 84 persons were found positive for Hepatitis B virus in village Diver of Lolab area. There are around 459 cases of HIV infection registered in SKIMS hospital. UNI BAS RSA SNU 1633

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