Before heat treatment of blood and blood products started in the mid 1980s, anyone treated with them was at risk from numerous blood borne diseases. The most common being Hepatitis C (HCV) which infected over 95% of people with bleeding disorders when they were treated with blood products manufactured from pooled plasma, plus a number of people treated with transfusions of whole blood.
HCV was originally thought to be a virus that attacked only the liver, but with passing years, more and more research has revealed links between HCV and numerous serious illnesses that are not related to the liver. Our extra-hepatic manifestations (EHMs) page shows just a small sample of the available research on the way HCV causes a wide range of health problems. It's astonishing that the UK Government ignored all the evidence and set criteria for eligibility for financial assistance according only to level of liver damage. One only needs to look at the evidence of neurological associations with HCV, let alone any of the other EHMs, to realise that no one could be expected to earn a decent living whilst facing such huge challenges.
A variety of health destroying and life-threatening infections were passed on to NHS patients through contaminated blood. HCV and HIV have been the main killers. Haemophiliacs have borne the brunt of the disaster because the factor concentrates used in just one dose of treatment can contain extracts from the blood of *between 20,000 ñ 50,000 donations. Consequently, some contracted multiple viruses.
*Source: Charles Hayís recent evidence to the Penrose Inquiry (Day 83, p85).