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Australia has one of the safest blood supplies in the world in terms of viral safety. We publish estimates of the residual risks of transfusion-transmitted infection as a guide for clinicians in transfusion decision-making and informed consent processes.
Our Blood Service estimates of residual risk of transfusion-transmitted viral infection are based on published models, and represent the median risk estimate derived using three models.
|Risks of Transfusion-transmitted Infection Calculated on Blood Service Data|
|Agent and testing standard||Window period||Estimate of residual risk ‘per unit' (a)|
|HIV (antibody + NAT)||5.6 days||Less than 1 in 1 million(1)|
|HCV (antibody + NAT)||3.1 days||Less than 1 in 1 million(1)|
|HBV (HBsAg + NAT)||23.9 days||Approximately 1 in 764,000(1)|
|HTLV 1 & 2 (antibody)||51 days||Less than 1 in 1 million(1)|
|vCJD [No testing]||Possible, not yet reported in Australia|
|Malaria (antibody)||7–14 days||Less than 1 in 1 million(2)|
Notes: vCJD=variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease; (a) The risk estimates for HIV, HCV, HBV and HTLV are based on Blood Service data from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2011.
These estimates are updated annually. Estimates are conservative since they are based on the ‘worst case’ assumption that an infectious donation is always issued for transfusion, and that if transfused, will always lead to infection in the recipient (ie, infectivity is 100%).
There have been no reported cases of transmission by transfusion of classical Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (cCJD), and retrospective studies suggest that the possibility of such transmission of cCJD is remote.(3)
No Australian has been infected with vCJD to date. In the UK, there have been a small number of reported cases of putative transfusion transmission since 2004.
In Australia, as a precaution, people who have spent a cumulative period of 6 months in the UK between 1 January 1980 and 31 December 1996 and/or had a transfusion in the UK between 1 January 1980 and the present time are not accepted as blood donors.