20 children in Jodhpur get HIV, HCV due to transfusion of infected blood

Terming it as a case of negligence, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the state government was responsible in the case.

While three children were found infected with HIV in May after they were tested at S N Medical College, another 17 tested positive for Hepatitis C virus, the Marwar Thalassaemia Society claimed. Two more children were infected with hepatiatis B.
Hospital officials said that a three-member committee had been formed by the hospital to enquire into the matter.

"It is a case of negligence. It is the responsibility of the state government to take proper precautions," Azad said in Srinagar.

At least five children were infected with HIV and 29 with Hepatitis at the same hospital in December 2008 following transfusion of infected blood after which the state government had constituted a committee headed by the Director of State AIDS Control Society R N D Purohit who had suggested the need for reforms in blood donation process.
Secretary of Thalassaemia Society Vipin Gupta claimed that no action was taken on the report.

"Had the step been taken on the recommendation of that committee, we would not have had these new HIV infections," he said.

However, principal of S N Medical College, R K Aseri said that a proposal for introducing the advanced Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) technique has already been sent to the state government.

According to Gupta, the present technique being used in testing the blood during donation is Enzyme Linked Immune Substrate Assay (ELISA), which has a window period-- the period of time between HIV infection and the production of antibodies-- of two to eight weeks.

During the window period, an antibody test may give a false negative result.
"When we have the technology called NAT, which has a window period of three to seven days, how can we allow the children to be infected with HIV and hepatitis," he said.
Gupta demanded early introduction of NAT technique and setting up of a fully equipped and staffed Thalassemia ward.

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