Entirely New 'TT'
Virus Found In California
Blood Donors
NEW YORK - Nearly 7 percent of blood donors in Northern California who were randomly tested were found to be positive for a new type of virus, known as TT virus, researchers say.
The virus was first identified in 1997 in Japan when researchers found it in 3 of 5 patients who developed hepatitis after blood transfusions. However, it is still not clear if the virus is harmless, or something to be concerned about.
Bernie R. Betlach and colleagues at the Sacramento Medical Foundation Center tested a total of 194 samples from volu nteer blood donors in a 13-county area of Northern California. The resea rchers tested 119 healthy volunteers and 75 donors with elevated blood levels of liver enzymes.
"In each group, 6.7 percent tested positive for TT virus," Betlach told Reuters Health in a telephone interview. All the samples were negative for other viruses checked during routine don or blood screening.
The study findings were scheduled to be presented Monday at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in Chicago.
It is possible that the virus may account for some cases of transfusion-associated hepatitis in those cases in which an individual tests negative for any of the known hepatitis vir uses, according to Betlach, but more study is needed to find out if this proposed link is true.