Introduction: Children requiring multiple blood transfusions are at high risk of transfusion-transmissible infections (TTIs). Lao People's Democratic Republic is a low-resource setting where donor blood screening faces challenges. This study aimed to determine the burden of TTIs in children in Vientiane Capital. Methods: 300 children with transfusion history and 300 controls were recruited. In addition, 49 newly diagnosed transfusion recipients were followed for up to 12 months. Serum was tested for hepatitis B surface antigen and IgG antibodies against parvovirus B19, hepatitis B, C and E viruses. Results: The patients had a similar prevalence of anti-hepatitis B core antibodies (56; 18.7%) and hepatitis B surface antigen (8; 2.7%) as the controls (58; 19.3% and 9; 3.0%, respectively). However, there was a higher prevalence of an antibody profile suggestive of hepatitis B vaccination (anti-hepatitis B surface antibody positive/anti-hepatitis B core antibody negative) in the transfused group (140/299; 46.8%) than in controls (77/300; 25.7%, p<0.01). All other markers were similar in the patients and controls or higher in the controls: anti-hepatitis C virus (2.7% and 3.3%, p=0.6), anti-hepatitis E virus (7.5% and 12.7%, p=0.006) and anti-parvovirus B19 (2.4% and 8.5%, p=0.001). The longitudinal cohort did not show an increase in any marker over time. Conclusion: Our results suggest no significant role of TTIs in Lao children. The higher prevalence of the hepatitis B vaccination profile in transfusion recipients showed that recommendations to vaccinate before commencing transfusions is at least partially implemented, although there is room for improvement.In areas with high rates of anemia and thalassemia, children may receive numerous blood transfusions, placing them at risk of infections such as hepatitis B. Here, Lao children were evaluated for the risk of transfusion-associated hepatitis B infection.
- communicable diseases