Patients at Russian hospitals are in a panic after news that HIV infected blood had been administered to 208 people, with one of them getting infected with the virus. A 35 year old female donor in Voronezh is reported to have donated the infected blood. Conflicting statements are coming in from the authorities with regard to the exact number of people treated with the infected blood.
Russia faces the most serious HIV/AIDS problem among the European nations, with over 330,000 officially registered cases. Unofficial estimates on the other hand put the HIV infection rates in the country at 2% of the adult population.
The Deputy Chief of the Regional Administration's Health Department, Mikhail Ivanov has said that only 7 people were treated with the HIV-positive donor's plasma, and a woman is reported to have been infected as a result of this. The doctors who supervised the treatment are being sued by the woman patient. The victim has been breast-feeding her infant for the past six months, and the child and her husband may also have been infected. An investigation into the case has been launched by the Voronezh Prosecutor's Office.
Chief Public Health Official of Moscow Nikolai Filatov has revealed that the infected sample may also have been sent to Moscow. This contention has however been rejected by the Federal Medical and Biological Agency Blood Center's Director Yevgeni Zhiburt. The authorities also claim that the infected blood was processed through the protein albumin which is capable of destroying the virus. The laboratories for undertaking genetic analysis of blood donations are remarkable by their absence in Russia. The 600 laboratories in the country are vulnerable to human error.