The risks of infection from blood transfusion are
now extremely low. Daily activities such as road
travel are associated with much greater risk than
the risks of a blood transfusion when you need
it. It is estimated that for every 4,000,000 units
transfused 3,999,999 people will not contract HIV.
For every 4,000,000 units transfused 3,999,999
people will not contract Hepatitis C. For every
200,000 units transfused 199,999 people will not
contract Hepatitis B. Bacterial infection of blood
is extremely rare and is prevented by careful collection
and storage of blood.
Variant Creutzfeldt Jakob
Disease (vCJD) is a degenerative neurological disease
caused by eating Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
(BSE) contaminated meat. The possibility that blood transfusion
can transmit vCJD is very low, although it now appears possible.
To date one person in Ireland has developed vCJD; this person
lived for several years in the U.K. and did not donate blood
in Ireland. The risk that anyone that had donated blood in
Ireland will develop vCJD in the future is very low. To reduce
the risks of possible transmission of vCJD through transfusion
from a donor who might have been infected with vCJD, the
Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) has introduced a number
of precautionary measures since 1999.
It is important to realise the
risks of not having a necessary blood transfusion exceeds
the extremely low risks of vCJD transmission by transfusion.In
the Bon Secours Hospital, we have a Haemovigilance programme.
This involves the Hospital Blood Transfusion Committee
who oversees the policies and procedures in relation to
best transfusion practice within the hospital.