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India investigates transfusion procedures after 23 children get infected with HIV


India investigates transfusion procedures after 23 children get infected with HIV

nickj September 12, 2011

India is investigating its blood transfusion procedures after at least 23 children with a rare genetic disorder tested positive for HIV. The patients received the transfusions at government-run hospitals between January and August, the Associated Press reports.

All of the 23 children suffer from the genetic disease thalassemia, which causes anemia. Reports show that 103 children receive treatment at the Junagadh Civil Hospital, which is where the tainted blood is believed to have originated from.

The crisis has hit one man particularly hard. Thirty-three year old Salim Sheikh is the father of a four-year-old girl who was among those who tested positive for HIV. He has already sold many of his belonging to pay for her thalassemia treatment, and he believes that she may not survive the new infection.

"When we went for transfusion on August 9, the doctors asked us to get the HIV test done," he told the Indian Express. "The result was positive. The doctors, blood bank staff and hospital superintendent said 'it has happened, what can be done?'"

The infections come after a similar scare in the United States in August when a clinic in Wisconsin warned its patients about the possibility that they were exposed to HIV or hepatitis. According to the Chicago Tribune, the scare was caused by a nurse who worked there incorrectly used diabetic injections on them.

Officials for the clinic say that the potential infections happened when the nurse was showing newly-diagnosed diabetics how to inject insulin. Investigators found she was using the same pen on different patients when she should have been showing them using pillows or oranges. More than 2,000 patients saw the nurse since 2006 and she has since left the job.