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Infected blood transfusions killed 1,820 in UK, study estimates

An estimated 1,820 people died in the UK after being given contaminated blood transfusions between 1970 and 1991, a report has found.

The findings were published by the public inquiry into the scandal.

The long period between infection and symptoms appearing makes it difficult to know how many people were infected through a transfusion in the 1970s and 1980s, before it became possible to screen blood donations for the virus.

New modelling for the public inquiry estimated that between 21,300 and 38,800 people were infected after being given a transfusion between 1970 and 1991, with a central estimate of 26,800.

The study, by a group of 10 academics commissioned by the public inquiry, calculated that 1,820 of those died as a result, although the number could be as high as 3,320.

Its findings were based on the rate of hepatitis C infection in the population, the number of blood donations made over that time, the survival rate of the disease and other factors.

It found at least 79 and possibly up to 100 people also contracted HIV through donated blood, based on data provided by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), with most infections between 1985 and 1987.

It said 67 people in that group had now died, although there was no data confirming the causes of death.

The public inquiry into the infected blood scandal began taking evidence in 2019 and is expected to publish its final report in 2023.

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Source: BBC News, 17 September 2022


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