Over 20 children suffering from Thalassaemia have tested positive for HIV and Hepatitis C allegedly after transfusion of infected blood at a hospital in Jodhpur, two years after a similar incident had prompted an inquiry by the Rajasthan government.
While three children were found infected with HIV in May after they were tested at S N Medical College, another 17 tested positive for Hepatitis C virus, the Marwar Thalassaemia Society claimed.
Hospital officials said that a three-member committee had been formed by the hospital to enquire into the matter.
At least five children were infected with HIV and 29 with Hepatitis at the same hospital in December 2008 following transfusion of infected blood after which the state government had constituted a committee headed by the Director of State AIDS Control Society R N D Purohit who had suggested the need of adopting more advanced technique of blood donation.
Secretary of Thalassaemia Society Vipin Gupta claimed that no action was taken on the report.
"Had the step been taken on the recommendation of that committee, we would not have had these new HIV infections," he said. However, principal of S N Medical College, R K Aseri said that a proposal for introducing the advanced Nucleic Acid Test technique has already been sent to the state government. According to Gupta, the present technique being used in testing the blood during donation is Enzyme Linked Immune Substrate Assay, which has a window period -- the period of time between HIV infection and the production of antibodies -- of two to eight weeks.
During the window period, an antibody test may give a false negative result. "When we have the technology called NAT, which has a window period of three to seven days, how can we allow the children to be infected with HIV and hepatitis," he said.Gupta demanded early introduction of NAT technique and setting up of a fully equipped and staffed Thalassemia ward.