Blood safety in the Netherlands: prevention of blood-transmitted infections
Amongst the various blood-safety measures to prevent blood-transmitted infections in transfusion recipients, the most important are the selection of blood donors and the testing for infections of the donations.
A look-back procedure aims to inform hospitals about potentially infected blood products and to trace the relevant recipients. The opposite, reverse look-back, can also occur: following a report that a patient has an infection of which blood transfusion may be the possible source, all possibly implicated donors will be screened for the particular agent.
Over the period 2007-2017, 84 look-backs were carried out by the Dutch blood product organisation Sanquin. Transmission via blood products of the human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis C virus, human T-cell Lymphotropic virus or Treponema pallidum were not found.
Look-back identified four recipients with hepatitis-B virus infection. These recipients had received a blood product from donors with an occult chronic hepatitis-B virus infection.
In the Netherlands, the risks associated with transmission of infection through blood products are minimal; however, transmission may still occur, despite extensive blood-safety measures.
Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.