Open Access Research article

Seroprevalence of transfusion-transmissible infections and evaluation of the pre-donation screening performance at the Provincial Hospital of Tete, Mozambique

Jocelijn Stokx1, Philippe Gillet1, Anja De Weggheleire2, Esther C Casas1, Rosa Maendaenda2, Adelino J Beulane2, Ilhes V Jani3, Solon Kidane1, Carla D Mosse4, Jan Jacobs1 and Emmanuel Bottieau1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), Antwerp, Belgium

2 Provincial Hospital of Tete (PHT), Tete, Mozambique

3 Instituto Nacional da Saude (INS), Maputo, Mozambique

4 Direcçao Provincial da Saude (DPS), Tete, Mozambique

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2011, 11:141  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-141

Published: 23 May 2011

Abstract

Background

The World Health Organization recommends universal and quality-controlled screening of blood donations for the major transfusion-transmissible infections (TTIs): human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and syphilis. The study objectives were to determine the seroprevalence of these TTIs among blood donors at the Provincial Hospital of Tete, Mozambique, and to assess the local pre-donation screening performance.

Methods

All consenting voluntary and replacement candidate blood donors were consecutively included from February to May 2009. Sera of all candidates, independent of deferral by questionnaire, were submitted to screening with quality-assured rapid or simple assays for HIV, HBV surface antigen (HBsAg), HCV and syphilis. Assays locally used by the blood bank for HBV and syphilis screening were run in parallel to quality-assured external assays supplied during the study, and all discordant samples were submitted to confirmation testing in reference laboratories in Mozambique and Belgium.

Results

Of 750 consenting candidates (50.5% of voluntary donors), 71 (9.5%) were deferred by the questionnaire, including 38 specifically because of risk behavior for TTI. Of the 679 non-deferred candidates, 127 (18.7%) had serological confirmation of at least one TTI, with a lower prevalence in voluntary than in replacement donors (15.2% versus 22.4%, p = 0.016). Seroprevalence of HIV, HBsAg and syphilis infections was 8.5%, 10.6 % and 1.2%. No confirmed HCV infection was found. Seroprevalence of TTIs was similar in the 38 candidates deferred for TTI risk as in the non-deferred group, except for HBsAg (26.3 % versus 10.6 %; p = 0.005). The local assays used for HBV and syphilis had sensitivities of 98.4% and 100% and specificities of 80.4% and 98.8% respectively. This resulted in the rejection of 110 of the 679 blood donations (16.2%) because of false positive results.

Conclusions

The seroprevalence of TTIs after questionnaire screening is high in Tete, Mozambique, but HCV infection does not appear as a major issue. The questionnaire did not exclude effectively HIV-infected donor candidates, while the locally used assays led to unnecessary rejection of many safe donations. A contextualized questionnaire and consistent use of quality-assured assays would considerably improve the current screening procedure for blood donation.