To notify persons who received a blood transfusion in a neonatal intensive care unit between January 1975 and July 1992 of their risk for hepatitis C infection and to encourage them to seek hepatitis C antibody testing.
Neonatal intensive care unit, blood bank, and public access records were queried to identify current mailing addresses and persons deceased. All persons were notified by letter.
Persons who received health care in an integrated health care system, the Alaska Native Medical Center, or in the private sector.
Transfusion in the neonatal period.
Main Outcome Measures
Prevalence of test results positive for the hepatitis C virus antibody and RNA and awareness of having received a blood transfusion in a neonatal intensive care unit.
Alaska Native Medical Center (n = 401) and private sector (n = 1396) persons were targeted for notification. Letters were mailed to 277 Alaska Native Medical Center (69%) and 374 private sector (27%) persons, with 151 (55%) and 65 (17%) screened for hepatitis C, respectively. Among those screened (n = 216), 7 (3%) were hepatitis C antibody positive, with 6 (<3%) also hepatitis C virus–RNA positive. Among 147 persons who responded, 75 (51%) were unaware they had received a transfusion.
Compared with the private sector, a higher proportion of persons were identified and tested from the integrated health care system and more than half of respondents were unaware of their transfusion history. It would be prudent to screen neonatal intensive care unit patients who received transfusions before July 1992 for hepatitis C virus infection.