The police on Friday commenced an investigation on a complaint that a nine-year-old leukemia patient, who underwent blood transfusion at the state-run Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) here, later tested positive for HIV. "But there is a possibility that when the blood is donated, though the tests show negative, the person may still have AIDS", Sebastian said.
The child had tested negative during an earlier examination at the RCC, on March 1. Transfusion of blood donated during this period might have led to the child getting infected, he added.
This is the third reported case of transfusion-transmitted HIV infection in the State. Even while observing all mandatory safety precautions before accepting blood from a donor, there is always the risk that the donor is in the window period.
Most of the labs in the country have the facility to conduct the Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) that detect HIV infection during the window period. These people would immediately be summoned and after collecting information from them, will be subjected to blood test. The minister also said the state government would bear all future treatment expenses of the girl. According to police, the girl was being treated at the Alapuzha Medical College from where she was referred to the Thiruvananthapuram RCC for further treatment.
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An expert team under the leadership of joint DME Sreekumari has also begun to investigate the case as per the instruction of health minister K K Sylaja.
The Kerala State Human Rights Commission ordered a high-level probe into the incident and directed the RCC director and the health department secretary to file an explanation in three weeks.
Kerala Human Rights Commission (acting) chairperson P Mohandas said stringent action should be taken against the hospital staff if they were found guilty.
Noting a swelling in one of her eyes, doctors made a decision to carry out various tests; it was then revealed that she had contracted HIV.
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