Human plasma is too important a therapeutic agent for the medical profession to entertain doubts concerning its safety. The case reports published in this issue of The Journal seem to indicate that in some instances sterilization has failed and homologous serum hepatitis has been transmitted to recipients. The reasons for failure of sterilization and the source of each case of homologous serum hepatitis must be determined. A review of causes of the disease and the precautions necessary to prevent its transmission, however, reveals the difficulties of this task.
One difficulty is inherent in the very nature of viral hepatitis, since it is often impossible to determine whether the disease has been transmitted by blood or its derivatives (homologous serum hepatitis1) or is due to other causes (acute infectious hepatitis2). This is well illustrated by a recent study of 287 patients with viral hepatitis3: Only 40 had received
HOMOLOGOUS SERUM HEPATITIS. JAMA. 1950;144(3):241–243. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02920030029013