Thursday, October 21, 2010

HCV/HIV: The Blood Scandal Of 1970

The timeline, and links on the blog today will cover mostly the Irish/British Blood Scandal, later in the month this blog will go over the Canadian scandal in more detail.

The Irish Blood Scandal:

In the 1970's thousands people were infected with Hepatitis C and HIV through blood transfusions and blood clotting products . In Ireland the majority of victims were women who contracted HCV when they received a tainted blood product called Anti-D during pregnancy.

The UK
From the tainted blood scandal 4,670 haemophiliacs in the UK were given blood contaminated with hepatitis C. Of those people there were 1,200 also infected with HIV. This blood came from the United States, from drug users and prison inmates.

The UK Blood Scandal : ARKANSAS BLOOD SCANDAL STILL DRIPPING and mid-1980s, as contaminated blood flowed from Arkansas inmates to other countries, then-Governor W.J. Clinton sat on his hands despite evidence of severe mismanagement in his prison system and its medical operations. . .

In 1991 a national screening campaign began in Ireland and was ran under the direction of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service Board. In February 1994 they found batches of anti-D immune globulin had been contaminated with HCV between 1977 and 1978.

1995 Ireland's Hepatitis C scandal goes back over eighteen years. Hundreds of people have been infected by contaminated blood products. 'The Irish Press'

1997 - The gross negligence of the State and its agencies in relation to the hepatitis C scandal was fully documented in last April's report by Mr Justice FinlayFrom The Irish Times - Sat, Aug 02, 1997 - THE STATE AND BRIDGET

1998 - About 60000 Canadians who received blood transfusions contracted hepatitis C. From Telegraph Herald : FOREIGN BRIEFS

1999 : The Infected Women
Data from these women published in the Eurosurveillance/Europes Journal on infectious disease in 1999 found that" seven hundred and four (1.1%) of 62 667 women who had received anti-D between 1970 and 1994 and were surveyed had evidence of past or current HCV infection . HCV-RNA was identified in serum of 390 of the 704 using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction.

These were offered clinical assessment and treatment and 376, aged 34 to 60 years (mean 45 years) at the time of screening, were evaluated.

Ninety-eight per cent (356/363) of women who underwent liver biopsy showed liver inflammation, 51% (186) had fibrosis, and 2% (seven) had probable or definite cirrhosis. Serum alanine aminotransferase concentrations were elevated in 55% of women. One or more symptoms were reported by 81% of women (304): 66% fatigue (248), 38% arthralgia or myalgia (143), 16% anxiety or depression (60), (6%) right upper-quadrant pain (23), and 5% rashes (19).

2000 THE BLOOD transfusion scandal has taken a dramatic new twist after internal board documents warned that incomplete information provided to a formal Dáil investigation ran the risk of TDs being seriously misled. From Blood clinic scandal takes a dramatic twist - National News, Frontpage -

2002 - Eight years on from when the original hepatitis C scandal first became public and after two Tribunals of Inquiry, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) remains in crisis. From Blood - the never ending scandal

2003 - A confidential report prepared by the Blood Bank has found there is no evidence to suggest that women infected with Hepatitis C - outside of two specified risk periods - contracted the virus from the Irish anti-D blood product. From RTÉ News: New report on Hepatitis C scandal -

2006 Since the scandal came to light, those affected have been involved in a fight for justice. From RTÉ News: Calls to reject bill for infection insurance

2008 The latest revelation about lost data is less serious in its scale, but raises different questions about the service's management. From Service's practices comes under the microscope again - National News

2009 - The Australian - Payout call over blood scandal "The compensation should be at least as much as the payments under an Irish government program. From tainted

2010 The inquiry recommended that British victims be compensated on the same level as those in Ireland, where those who contracted hepatitis C were paid on average £ 750000 and those infected with HIV received £101000. Composer wins a rethink over cash for blood victims - Times Online

From England

Contaminated blood campaigners take to the streets of Westminster on 30th June 2010.This superb piece of journalism, was created by Alex Terrell, who attended the Demonstration in London.

On october 14th 2010 in an article reported online that Public health minister Anne Milton said she she was 'deeply sorry' about the events that led to the infection of patients in the Seventies and Eighties. In the same article Ms. Milton said the scandal would cost £3bn and was not possible because of the current climate.

The Data Base

Today as of October 21st 2010 the efforts of monitoring the victims continues through the " National Hepatitis C Database Steering Committee". An article written by Lloyd Mudiwa in the Irish Times quoted Michele Tait, Chair of the Committee as saying "ongoing efforts to improve participation rates and the quality of the data collected for the database were “especially important” at this time, given that participants have been infected for an average of 30 years and most were now aged over 50 years. Based on the data collected in 2008 showed that"the majority of participants, including those chronically infected, did not show evidence of having serious liver disease". Also the article found that 188 participants had died, an additional 15 since the data collected in 2007.

To all the families who lost their loved ones, please except my heartfelt condolences .

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