Hepatitis C virus infection is a major health problem worldwide. The current study estimated seroprevalence of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and evaluated associated factors among volunteer blood donors of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), Pakistan. Of 1,131 volunteer blood donors enrolled, 46 (4.1%) were positive for anti-HCV antibodies. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that positive donors were more likely to be 27-32 years old or >32 years old, have had 1-2 injections or >2 injections in the past year, or 1-5 intravenous (IV) drips or >5 I/V drips in the past 5 years. Positive donors had a family history of jaundice and were more likely to have been shaved (facial and armpit) by barbers. There was high prevalence of anti-HCV antibodies among blood donors of the NWFP. Public awareness programs should target the identified risk factors to prevent HCV transmission. We highlight the weakness of the health care system for blood donation, as it does not offer any record management for donors.
The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of HCV infection and the signal/cutoff (S/CO) value for false reactive, false positive, indeterminate and true positive HCV infection among apparently healthy blood donors in our area. This retrospective study was conducted at the Transfusion Medicine Unit, Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia from June 2008 to June 2009. Blood samples were screened for anti-HCV using enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Reactive cases were confirmed by recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA). Sixty-one blood donors were found to be reactive after the first screening test. Twenty-nine blood donors had reactive repeat screening, with only 9 samples being true positives. The S/ CO for false reactive, false positive, indeterminate and true positive anti-HCV samples were 1.02 to 1.45, 1.01 to 2.09, 1.07 to 2.43 and 35.95 to 119.89, respectively. The analysis showed the low incidence of HCV infections among blood donors in our area, however, thorough donor screening and stringent selection criteria are still recommended to eliminate high risk donors to improve our blood transfusion service.
In this study, the presence of IgG and IgM antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi (strain B. afzelii) among Malaysian blood donors and patients admitted to hospital with various infectious diseases was determined. Sera were screened using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); positive sera were then subjected to Western blot testing. All but one of the blood donors were negative for borrelial antibodies. Of 121 patients' sera, IgM antibodies were detected in 24 (19.8%) and IgG antibodies were detected in 5 (4.1%) sera. Only one of two patients with skin manifestations suggestive of Lyme disease had IgM antibody against B. afzelii. Of 30 patients with exposure to tick typhus, 4 (13.3%) were IgM positive and 1 (3.3%) was IgG positive. Based on the detection of antigenic bands by Western blot, 6 patients' sera showed positive reactions. Antigenic bands of p39, p41 and p59/62 kDa were the commonest findings of Western blotting. This study provides serological evidence of B. afzelii infections in Malaysia; further investigation is needed to correlate serological and clinical findings.
Transfusion-transmissible infections including HIV-1 continue to pose major risks for unsafe blood transfusions due to both window phase infections and divergent viruses that may not be detected by donor screening assays. Given the recent emergence of several HIV-1 circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) in high-risk populations in the Southeast Asia region, we investigated the genetic diversity of HIV-1 among the blood donors in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A total of 211 HIV-positive plasma samples detected among 730,188 donations to the National Blood Centre between 2013 and 2014 were provided (90.5% male, median age: 27.0 years old). Recent or long-term infection status at the time of donation was determined using a limiting antigen avidity enzyme immunoassay (LAg-Avidity EIA). HIV-1 gag-pol genes were amplified and sequenced from residual plasma for 149 cases followed by genotype determination using phylogenetic and recombination analyses. Transmitted antiretroviral resistance mutations were not observed among the blood donors, among which 22.7% were classified as recent or incident infections. Major circulating HIV-1 genotypes determined by neighbour-joining phylogenetic inference included CRF01_AE at 40.9% (61/149), CRF33_01B at 21.5% (32/149), and subtype B at 10.1% (15/149). Newly-described CRFs including CRF54_01B circulated at 4.0%, CRF74_01B at 2.0%, and CRF53_01B and CRF48_01B at 0.7% each. Interestingly, unique HIV-1 genotypes including African subtype G (8.7%), CRF45_cpx (1.3%), CRF02_AG (0.7%) and CRF07_BC (0.7%) from China were detected for the first time in the country. A cluster of subtype G sequences formed a distinct founder sub-lineage within the African strains. In addition, 8.7% (13/149) of HIV-infected donors had unique recombinant forms (URFs) including CRF01_AE/B' (4.7%), B'/C (2.7%) and B'/G (1.3%) recombinants. Detailed analysis identified similar recombinant structures with shared parental strains among the B'/C and B'/G URFs, some of which were sequenced from recently infected individuals, indicating the possible emergence and on-going spread of foreign clades of CRF candidates among the local population. The findings demonstrate extensive molecular complexity of HIV-1 among the infected blood donors in Malaysia, driven in part by the increased spread of recently described CRFs and multiple introductions of previously unreported genotypes from highly prevalent countries.