Transfusional transmitted viruses in pregnancy
SourceJournal of pediatric endocrinology & metabolism: JPEM
Volume11 Suppl 3
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Blood has long been recognized as a vehicle for transmission of infectious organisms and as molecular laboratory technology has advanced, a seemingly endless array of infectious agents has occasionally been documented to be blood transmitted. Transfusion associated hepatitis (TAH) has been the most common serious consequence of blood transfusion although in recent years this has been significantly reduced (blood donor screening, blood processing, etc.). Thalassaemia major is classically associated with increased susceptibility to infections caused by those agents that are blood transmitted such as HBV, HCV, HIV, CMV, HPV B-19 (frequency rates vary from country to country). Monitoring the prevalence of transfusion transmitted infections in thalassaemics has been in recent years an indispensable part of their clinical management protocol. As a number of these viruses have been documented to be efficiently transmitted through the vertical route, the issue of blood transmitted viral infection monitoring becomes particularly important in order to provide protection or treatment both to the pregnant thalassaemic patient herself and to her foetus/newborn. Hepatitis (mainly B and C) and HIV in the obstetric thalassaemic is what the clinician is faced with most frequently. Although preventative measures have been very successful in the case of HBV infection and recently to an encouraging extent in the case of HIV (recommendations have been constructed), the mechanisms and frequency of HCV vertical transmission as well as the clinical outcome of children born to HCV carriers are not yet completely clarified. No vaccines are available and HIGB or antivirals do not appear to offer protection to the foetus against infection with HCV. Thalassaemics are frequently seropositive to markers of other transfusion transmitted viruses, such as CMV and HPV B-19, particularly by the age of pregnancy. Infection with a second or multiple strains as well as reactivation of existing CMV strain(s) are possible events in thalassaemics. However, the frequency of "recurrency" episodes, their implication in vertical transmission and clinical outcome for the foetus/newborn are issues requiring further investigation.