Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.
World News

Infected blood scandal: increase in hepatitis C testing

  • By Hugh Pym and Aurelia Foster
  • Health editor and health journalist

Image source, Charlotte Dickens

Legend, Charlotte Dickens, who received a blood transfusion in 1980, ordered a home kit after reading a BBC article

Demand for hepatitis C tests has increased since the BBC revealed that hundreds of people in the UK were unknowingly infected with the virus, according to the Hepatitis C Trust.

Between the years 1970 and 1991, up to 27,000 people were infected through transfusions of infected blood.

If left untreated, hepatitis can cause chronic liver disease and be fatal.

Known as the “silent killer,” hepatitis C may cause few symptoms at first, with early signs including night sweats, brain fog, itchy skin, and fatigue. But every year a person carries the virus, their risk of dying from liver cirrhosis and related cancers increases.

The Hepatitis C Trust told the BBC that 12,800 people in England had requested NHS home test kits in just over a week, compared to 2,300 for the whole of April.

The charity said it had been “inundated with calls across the UK asking for further advice and testing”.

“It’s amazing to see the response from the public, who have become more aware of the risks of hepatitis C,” said Rachel Halford, of the charity.

“Most people who get tested will receive a negative result and have peace of mind, but it is important to trace people who are unaware of their status so we can give them access to simple and effective treatment.”

Undiagnosed cases

The BBC recently exclusively revealed the true scale of undiagnosed cases of the disease, linked to the infected blood scandal.

The BBC’s calculation of 1,700 undiagnosed cases is based on statistics submitted to a public inquiry into the infected blood scandal, as well as freedom of information requests made to infected blood support schemes.

Official documents, seen by BBC News, have revealed how the UK government and the NHS have failed to adequately trace those most at risk of contracting the virus.

The BBC also revealed how authorities actively tried to limit public awareness of the virus to avoid embarrassing ‘bottlenecks’ in hospital liver units. Testing has been limited due to “resource implications for the NHS”.

Charlotte Dickens, 70, is among those who requested a home test kit following the publication of this article and is awaiting the result.

Ms Dickens, from Surrey, received a blood transfusion after suffering a haemorrhage during childbirth in 1980. She said she was ‘astonished’ that she and others were not tested for the disease once that the risks have become clear.

When news of the scandal first broke, she assumed she was unaffected. “I had no idea that (hepatitis C) could persist and cause liver cancer. Why didn’t we all get tested, what’s the answer to that question? It’s hard to find an excuse. “

Ms Dickens added that she felt she should speak out because of the large number of people who have died as a result of the scandal.

Legend, Maureen Arkley complained of stomach pain years before her hepatitis C diagnosis

About 3,000 people are known to have died as a result of receiving infected blood products.

But many people who unknowingly contracted hepatitis C are believed to have also died.

Victoria Arkley recently told the BBC that she was angry that her mother Maureen died of liver cancer shortly after being diagnosed with hepatitis C.

She believes she was infected during transfusions 47 years earlier: “Where was the public health campaign? Why didn’t the doctor test her? They knew she had received transfusions, but no one I tested it. I’m so angry.”

What is the infected blood scandal?

The infected blood scandal is considered the biggest treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

Most of those affected were people with blood disorders such as hemophilia or people who had received blood transfusions.

Due to a shortage of blood products in the UK, many of them came from the US and were purchased from high-risk donors, such as prisoners and drug addicts.

Although hepatitis C was not officially identified until 1989, health officials and NHS staff recognized that this form of hepatitis could be fatal as early as 1980.

The public inquiry into the scandal is due to deliver its findings on Monday

If you think you had a blood transfusion in the 1970s, 80s or 90s and you have concerns about your health, you can request a free hepatitis C test from the NHS in England at: https://hepctest.nhs.uk. If you live in Wales, details are here. In Scotland you will need to contact your GP.

News Source : www.bbc.com
Gn world

Back to top button