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UK advisory board calls for screening liver donors for hepatitis B antibody.

A government advisory board has recommended that potential liver transplant donors in Britain be screened for hepatitis B core antibody.

The UK Department of Health said that because of evidence that the hepatitis B virus can reactivate in liver transplant recipients, the additional screening procedures would be undertaken in the future.

"Numerically, it is an extremely rare event that such transmissions occur," said Elizabeth Boxall, MD, clinical scientist with the Public Health Laboratory Service and member of the government advisory body on hepatitis. "But given that livers are only transplanted where it is clinically indicated, and that it can be a life-saving intervention, to introduce a virus is something that we would want to avoid."

Boxall said that the additional screening procedures were requested by British surgeons following two transmission cases, one in Britain, the other outside the UK. "There have been transmission events in liver transplantation from donors who were surface antigen negative but did have the core antibody," she said.
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Publication:Transplant News
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 30, 1998
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