Attempts to reduce the incidence of viral hepatitis, an infectious disease that
causes liver inflammation, have been extremely effective. The low hepatitis rate
now associated with blood transfusions is due to the careful selection of donors
and the testing of all donor blood for a hepatitis-related antigen (HBsAg).
Despite these measures, however, an occasional case of post-transfusion
hepatitis occurs. In such instances, as a final precautionary measure we recall
all persons who have donated blood to the patient within the preceding B
months. We do this so as to obtain an interim history on the donor and to
perform certain laboratory tests related to hepatitis.
We are sending you this letter, because you were one of (number) donors to a
patient who recently developed hepatitis. This should not alarm you, because
having checked your blood once and found it to be normal; it is unlikely that we
will find an abnormality at this time. However, this repeat check must be done for
the ultimate protection of our patients. It is known that the majority of donors
who transmit hepatitis are not themselves sick. The recipient of the blood may,
however, become ill because he lacks resistance to the hepatitis virus.
In summary, this letter in no way implies that you were the donor to transmit
hepatitis. Even If you were, it is unlikely that this has any implications in terms of
your personal health.
We would, however, greatly appreciate your contacting the blood bank at your
earliest convenience so that we may obtain a small blood sample (10 ml) and
determine your interim medical history. Would you kindly contact:
If any abnormalities are detected, you will be notified within 2 weeks. If you
are not contacted, you may assume that all tests were negative and that you are
still an eligible donor.
We greatly appreciate your cooperation in this matter. We especially
appreciate your kindness in having been a blood donor.
Figure 3-4. Sample letter to recall donor implicated in post-transfusion hepatitis case.