Blood transfusion safety in the country of Georgia: collateral benefit from a national hepatitis C elimination program

Evan M. Bloch, Eteri Kipiani, Shaun Shadaker, Maia Alkhazashvili, Lia Gvinjilia, Tinatin Kuchuloria, Nazibrola Chitadze, Sheila M. Keating, Amiran Gamkrelidze, Alexander Turdziladze, Vladimer Getia, Muazzam Nasrullah, Francisco Averhoff, Mariam Izoria, Beth Skaggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: In April 2015, the government of Georgia (country) initiated the worldʼs first national hepatitis C elimination program. An analysis of blood donor infectious screening data was conducted to inform a strategic plan to advance blood transfusion safety in Georgia. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Descriptive analysis of blood donation records (2015-2017) was performed to elucidate differences in demographics, donor type, remuneration status, and seroprevalence for infectious markers (hepatitis C virus antibody [anti-HCV], human immunodeficiency virus [HIV], hepatitis B virus surface antigen [HBsAg], and Treponema pallidum). For regression analysis, final models included all variables associated with the outcome in bivariate analysis (chi-square) with a p value of less than 0.05. RESULTS: During 2015 to 2017, there were 251,428 donations in Georgia, representing 112,093 unique donors; 68.5% were from male donors, and 51.2% of donors were paid or replacement (friends or family of intended recipient). The overall seroprevalence significantly declined from 2015 to 2017 for anti-HCV (2.3%-1.4%), HBsAg (1.5%-1.1%), and T. pallidum (1.1%-0.7%) [p < 0.0001]; the decline was not significant for HIV (0.2%-0.1%). Only 41.0% of anti-HCV seropositive donors underwent additional testing to confirm viremia. Infectious marker seroprevalence varied by age, sex, and geography. In multivariable analysis, first-time and paid donor status were associated with seropositivity for all four infectious markers. CONCLUSION: A decline during the study period in infectious markers suggests improvement in blood safety in Georgia. Areas that need further improvement are donor recruitment, standardization of screening and diagnostic follow-up, quality assurance, and posttransfusion surveillance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1243-1252
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


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