Blood-borne viral infections can complicate organ transplantation. Systematic monitoring to distinguish donor-transmitted infections from other new infections post-transplant is challenging. Administrative health data can be informative. We aimed to quantify post-transplant viral infections, specifically those transmitted by donors, and those reactivating or arising new in recipients.
We linked transplant registries with administrative health data for all solid organ donor-recipient pairs in New South Wales, Australia, 2000-2015. All new recipient notifications of hepatitis B (HBV), C (HCV) or HIV after transplant were identified. Proven/probable donor-transmissions within 12 months of transplant were classified using an international algorithm.
Of 2,120 organ donors, there were 72 with a viral infection (9/72 active, 63/72 past). These 72 donors donated to 173 recipients, of whom 24/173 already had the same infection as their donor, and 149/173 did not, so were at risk of donor-transmission. Among those at risk, 3/149 recipients had proven/probable viral transmissions (1 HCV, 2 HBV); none were unrecognised by donation services. There were no deaths from transmissions. There were no donor-transmissions from donors without known blood-borne viruses. An additional 68 recipients had new virus notifications, of whom 2/68 died, due to HBV infection.
This work confirms the safety of organ donation in an Australian cohort, with no unrecognised viral transmissions and most donors with viral infections not transmitting the virus. This may support targeted increases in donation from donors with viral infections. However, other new virus notifications post-transplant were substantial and are preventable. Data-linkage can enhance current biovigilance systems.
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