Research Article: Transfusion-transmissible viral infections among blood donors at the North Gondar district blood bank, northwest Ethiopia: A three year retrospective study

Date Published: July 5, 2017

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Belete Biadgo, Elias Shiferaw, Berhanu Woldu, Kefyalew Addis Alene, Mulugeta Melku, Jason Blackard.


Transfusion-transmissible viral infections, such as hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), remain a major public health problem in developing countries. The prevalence of these viral infections among blood donors may reflect the burden of these diseases among populations. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the sero-prevalence of transfusion-transmissible viral infections among blood donors.

A retrospective study was conducted using data obtained from registration books of blood donors from the Ethiopian North Gondar District Blood Bank from 2010 to 2012. Descriptive statistics, such as percentages, medians and interquartile ranges were computed. A binary logistic regression model was fitted to identify factors associated with each viral infection. The odds ratio with a 99% confidence interval was calculated. A p-value < 0.01 was considered statistically significant. A total of 6,471 blood donors were included in the study. Of these, 5,311 (82.1%) were male, and 382 (5.9%) were voluntary blood donors. Overall, 424 (6.55%) of the blood donors were sero-reactive for at least one transfusion-transmissible viral infection. Of all study participants, 233 (3.6%) were sero-reactive for HBV, 145 (2.24%) were sero-reactive for HIV, and 51 (0.8%) were sero-reactive for HCV. Four (0.062%) of the study’s participants were co-infected: 3 (75%) with HBV-HCV and 1 (25%) with HIV-HBV-HCV. Being a farmer, unemployed or employed donor was significantly associated with transfusion-transmissible viral infections compared to being a student donor. The prevalence of transfusion-transmissible viral infections is substantial and has increased overtime. Hence, it demands more vigilance in routine screening of donated blood prior to transfusion. Further community-based studies to identify societal risk factors are necessary.

Partial Text

Blood transfusion saves millions of lives worldwide each year [1]. However, transfusion-transmissible infections (TTIs) are a major problem associated with blood transfusion, particularly in developing countries [1]. The magnitude of this problem is directly related to the prevalence of TTIs among blood donors [2]. In several settings, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are the major TTIs [3–5]. Each blood transfusion carries a risk of transmitting blood-borne pathogens [6]. For instance, in sub-Saharan Africa, 5–12% of patients who received blood transfusions are at risk of post-transfusion hepatitis and HIV infections [7]. For this reason, the prevention and control of TTIs is the leading concern and priority of the World Health Organization (WHO) and blood transfusion programs in Sub-Saharan African countries, including Ethiopia [8].

Blood transfusion is considered to be a potential risk factor for the transmission of viruses such as HBV, HCV and HIV, which are life-threatening and global public health problems. In this study, we found that the overall sero-prevalence of TTIs was 6.55% (99% CI: 5.76–7.34%), which is in agreement with a previous report from Hawassa, Ethiopia (7.0%) [16]. However, this prevalence is lower than other studies conducted in different part of Ethiopia, such as Gondar (9.5%) [15], Bahir Dar (43.2%) [18], Wolaita Sodo (29.5%) [17], and Jijiga (11.5%) [21]. The prevalence reported in this study was also lower compared to other African countries that reported an overall prevalence of viral infection ranging from 9.5% to 21.2% [30–32]. This may be because our study focused only on three viral infections (i.e., HIV, HBV, and HCV), whereas previous studies included these viral infections in addition to syphilis. Another possible reason for this low prevalence of TTIs in our study could be due to differences in time period because our study used data collected in 2010 to 2012. This is relatively recent when compared to data used by the majority of the above studies [15,18,30,31].




0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments