• 1 Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia


The two vital aspects of treatment for patients with tha-lassaemia are regular blood transfusions and iron chela-tion therapy. Unfortunately, the use of blood transfu-sions exposes these patients to the risks of acquiring transfusion related viral infections such as hepatitis C. Patients who acquire the hepatitis C virus (HCV) may develop chronic hepatitis and later on hepatocellular carcinoma. Hence, patients with thalassaemia should be regularly screened for the presence of HCV. We report here the results of a cross-sectional study conducted in a typical day-care centre for thalassaemics at the Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, involving 85 multiply transfused patients. We found that 19 patients (22.4%) were seropositive for HCV and two of them had positive HCV-RNA. Those who had started receiv-ing their transfusions before 1995, i.e. the year routine screening for HCV amongst blood donors were com-menced, and those who received transfusions 2-4 week-ly had a significantly higher risk of acquiring HCV infection.