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July 24, 1972

Serum Hepatitis and The Paid Blood Donor

JAMA. 1972;221(4):411. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200170055028

To the Editor.—  The probability of a recipient developing serum hepatitis (SH) is 10 to 50 times greater when the blood donor is a commercial donor (personal communication from J. Garrott Allen).A study of the demographic characteristics of the commercial donors confirms what logic suggests. Demographic data (age, race, sex, and address) of the SH positive donors and sequential control donors were collected from the files of a large commercial blood-bank and compared for possible differences between antigenaemic and non-antigenaemic donors. There were no discernible differences in age, sex, address, or race of the donors with detectable antigen at the commercial blood bank, when compared with controls. Further, there was no concentration of addresses in the areas of especially high incidence of drug usage in the city. The high SH-antigen rate in commercial blood donors in New York City must have another explanation. The very fact that commercial blood