“It's extremely unfortunate and regrettable. A tragedy for the child and the parents,” said Mats Tullberg, chief physician of the Sahlgrenska University Hospital to the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper (GP).
The baby was undergoing a routine blood transfusion at the The Queen Silvia Children´s Hospital in Gothenburg, western Sweden, when the infection was noticed on Thursday afternoon.
The baby was then rushed to the Sahlgrenska hospital and the family was notified.
“The child and the parents are being taken care of at the hospital. They are getting support and the child is getting the necessary treatment,” he said.
The hospital stressed that only the one patient was infected, and that there was no risk of other infections.
Furthermore, Tullberg explained that there is a chance the child will not show any symptoms of the illness.
“This particular case is a tragedy and certainly nothing that one should come up against. Small children can be carriers of the infection without being sick and may not have any symptoms. A cure is on the way and probably within a few years,” he told GP.
Meanwhile, the head of the blood donation division at the hospital, Jan Konar, explained that there is always a small risk of such an incident, even though the transfusion was carried out in accordance with the National Board of Health and Welfare's (Socialstyrelsen) regulations.
“The tests we do are not completely 100 percent accurate. But they are surely 99.999 percent. Statistically you can come up against this kind of thing every seventh or eighth year,” said Konar.
The blood donor is notified of the incident, which has been reported to the National Board in accordance with Sweden's Lex-Maria laws, the informal name for regulations governing the reporting of injuries or incidents in the Swedish health care system.
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease affecting the liver, primarily spread via blood-to-blood contact. There is currently no vaccine available against the virus.