Impact of COVID-19 on Transfusion-Transmissible Infections (TTIs) Prevalence in Southern Thailand: A Five-Year Analysis

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Blood transfusion is a critical medical intervention globally, yet it carries risks of transfusion-transmissible infections (TTIs) such as HIV, hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV and HCV), and syphilis. The World Health Organization recommends extensive screenings of collected blood to mitigate these risks. TTIs contribute significantly to global mortality, with over two million deaths annually attributed to HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections. This article analyzes the prevalence of TTIs in southern Thailand over a five-year period, focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on blood transfusion services and TTIs prevalence.

HIV Prevalence

HIV remains a major concern globally, with approximately one million new infections daily. The African region is disproportionately affected, reporting nearly a million new HIV cases annually. However, recent large-scale studies on HIV prevalence among blood donors in Thailand are lacking, necessitating comprehensive research to assess the current scenario.

HBV and HCV Infections

Chronic HBV and HCV infections are significant contributors to liver diseases worldwide. In 2019, an estimated 296 million individuals had chronic HBV infections, while 58 million had chronic HCV infections. Thailand faces challenges with approximately three million people living with chronic HBV infections, and a sizable population affected by HCV infections. A 2016 study highlighted the prevalence of anti-HCV positivity in Thailand, emphasizing the need for ongoing surveillance and interventions.

Syphilis Prevalence

Syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection, poses a global health threat with millions of cases reported annually. Thailand has observed an increased prevalence of syphilis, often co-occurring with HIV infections. Understanding the dynamics of syphilis prevalence is crucial for effective public health strategies.

Impact of COVID-19 on Blood Transfusion Services and TTIs Prevalence

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted healthcare services worldwide, leading to critical shortages in blood supply and affecting blood transfusion services. This study evaluates the socio-demographic characteristics of blood donors in southern Thailand and assesses the seroprevalence of TTIs during the pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 periods. The goal is to enhance safety protocols, ensure adequate blood supply, and adapt to the ‘new normal’ in healthcare.

Findings and Analysis

The study’s findings reveal variations in TTIs prevalence compared to pre-pandemic levels. Notably, HBV and HCV prevalence decreased by 21.8% and 2.1%, respectively, while HIV and syphilis increased by 36.4% and 9.0%. These changes reflect the complex interactions between public health measures, healthcare disruptions, and disease transmission dynamics. Interestingly, no significant relationship was found between TTIs prevalence and household income at the local level, highlighting the need for targeted interventions across diverse socio-economic groups.


reference link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-024-57584-z#Sec14

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