1 Department of Pediatric, AzadiTeaching Hospital, Kirkuk, Iraq
2 Department of Medicine,Azadi Teaching Hospital, Kirkuk, Iraq
Introduction: Thalassemia Major is one of the commonest causes of hereditary anemia in Iraq. Patients usually require frequent blood transfusion. This study tried to estimate the problem of transfusion-related infections among β-thalassemia major patients in Kirkuk governorate-Iraq.
Patients and Methods: The study involved 254 multi-transfused thalassemia major patients attending the Thalassemia Center at Kirkuk governorate over twoyears periodstarting from January 2010 to January 2012. Blood samples were tested for HBsAg, anti HCV antibodies, and HIV antibody using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. A control group of 150 Thalassemia minor with nearly matched age and sex to thalassemia major patients was included.
Results: Anti-HCV antibody was positive in 85 out of 254 thalassemia major patients (33.5%), while HBsAg was positive in only one out of 254 patients (0.4%). HIV infection was not found in any thalassemia major patients. The rate of positive anti-HCV antibodies was significantly higher in comparison with the control group (P value <0.000) while it was not significant for HBsAg (P value=0.9). Age categorization for thalassemia major patients with positive HCV test shows that more than three quarters of them are above 10 years old.
Conclusion:HCV is the current major problem in multi-transfused children with thalassemia major and more careful pre-transfusion screening of blood for anti-HCV must be introduced in blood bank centers.