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Blood Safety Recommendations - January 1999

DATE: February 8, 1999

TO: Interested Parties

FROM: Stephen D. Nightingale, M. D., Executive Secretary Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability

SUBJECT: Recommendations made by the Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability at its January 28, 1999 Meeting

1. The Advisory Committee recommends that targeted lookback should be initiated based on a repeatedly reactive EIA-1 test result on a repeat donor unless

A. a supplemental test result was performed and did not indicate significant risk of HCV infection;

B. no supplemental test result is available, but the signal to cutoff ration of the repeatedly reactive EIA-1 test was less than 2.5; or

C. followup testing is negative.

2. The Advisory Committee believes that, in light of the scope of the hepatitis C epidemic, current funding is inadequate for notification, testing, counseling, education, and therapy. We urge the Secretary to take immediate measures to increase funding to meet this major public health challenge. We further urge the Public Health Service to work with professional and private organizations to promulgate appropriate recommendations for testing, counseling, and therapy, and to secure additional resources for these purposes.

3. The Advisory Committee urges the Secretary to consider providing appropriate support and resources for blood centers and hospitals, both public and private, to conduct HCV lookback activities.