Blood scandal affected twice the number of children previously feared

Infected blood scandal affected TWICE the number of children previously feared, inquiry is told

  • Thousands were infected because of contaminated blood in the 1970s and 1980s
  • It was previously reported that at least 175 children were involved in the scandal
  • New estimations say around 380 children were involved, the injury was told

More than double the number of children than previously thought were infected with HIV through blood products in the UK, an inquiry has said.

Thousands of patients were hit by HIV and hepatitis C because of contaminated blood in the 1970s and 1980s.

It had previously been reported that at least 175 children were involved, but an inquiry looking into the fiasco has estimated the true number to be more than double.

Thousands of patients were hit by HIV and hepatitis C because of contaminated blood in the 1970s and 1980s

Jenni Richards KC, counsel to the Infected Blood Inquiry, said the inquiry’s view is that the figure of 175 derives from a 1990 legal claim brought by haemophiliacs who had been infected with HIV, where 175 of the plaintiffs were still children at the time of the £42million settlement in 1991.

She added: ‘The inquiry estimates that the number of people who were children when infected is more than two times that number.’

It now says that around 380 children were involved. It came to the estimate by basing it on the proportion of children among people with bleeding disorders, using data which was published in journal The Lancet in 1996 and figures provided by the UK Haemophilia Centre Doctors’ Organisation.

The disaster occurred after the UK struggled to keep up with demand for treatments tackling the blood-clotting condition haemophilia and other bleeding disorders, and began importing infected products from overseas.

About 2,400 people died in what has been called the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

Most of those involved relied on regular injections of the US product Factor VIII – a blood-clotting protein – to survive. However, they were unaware that they were receiving contaminated products from people who had been paid to donate, including prisoners and drug addicts.

Patients continued to be injected for years despite repeated warnings at the top of Whitehall. And some victims were also infected after receiving blood transfusions. New cases of HIV and hepatitis continued to be diagnosed decades after the first contaminations, resulting in early deaths for many.

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