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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Vaccines, Blood & Biologics

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Dear Blood Bank/Transfusion Service Director Letter: Hepatitis C Virus Risk

Nobember 3, 1998

Dear Blood Bank/Transfusion Service Director:

As you know, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has recommended that individuals transfused with blood infected with the Hepatitis C (HCV) virus be notified of their potential risk. I am asking all blood banks and transfusion directors to actively participate in this important public health effort. The enclosed document, which calls attention to your special roles and responsibilities regarding tracing and notifying certain blood recipients of their possible exposure to HCV from transfusions, represents the current thinking of the DHHS in this effort.

Infection with HCV often results in a chronic but silent liver disease associated with cirrhosis, liver failure, and cancer. It is the major reason for liver transplantation in the U.S. today. The effort to notify persons at increased risk for HCV infection is being undertaken because of recent improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with HCV-related liver disease. Although the last date notification can begin is March 1999, I urge you to begin this notification as soon as possible.

Sincerely yours,

---- signature ---

David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Secretary for Health and
  Surgeon Gener

 

Contact FDA

(800) 835-4709
(301) 827-1800
Consumer Affairs Branch (CBER)

Division of Communication and Consumer Affairs

Office of Communication, Outreach and Development

Food and Drug Administration

1401 Rockville Pike

Suite 200N/HFM-47

Rockville, MD 20852-1448