Infected Blood Inquiry

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No of entries selected: 8 of 711
Hepatitis B Outbreak in Haemophiliac Boys at the Lord Mayor Treloar School, Alton
In the Autumn of 1975, there is an outbreak of hepatitis B infections among haemophiliac pupils at the Lord Mayor Treloar College in Alton, Hampshire.

We know from the witness testimony of a former pupil who was in his second year at the school in 1975, that the epidemic down in Alton concerned hepatitis B infections and the outbreak involved around ten boys from the school. One of them was in his dormitory and, by coincidence, the morning the outbreak was registered was the same morning of the school medical, and he woke up looking yellow-faced. The boys involved were informed that it would take around 6 months for them to fully recover.

Note: It is disconcerting to learn that all of the infected boys were forced to endure the stigma of having small red spots (as markers) put on their meal plates and were required to specifically hand their marked plates in to canteen staff, in person, in order for them to be sterilised.

Source: Former Member of the Lord Mayor Treloar College.
Type: Testimony of Former Member of the Lord Mayor Treloar College in their second year with reference to Autumn 1975.
Location: UK
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27 July
BPL Elstree - Trial of FVIII Concentrates in Lord Mayor Treloar College
In a document called "Blood Products and Plasma Fractionation Laboratories", it states on page 4 that there is an active collaboration between Elstree and Oxford in 3 clinical investigations (TRIALS):

"Trial of factor VIII concentrate in prophylaxis BPL Elstree, Lord Mayor Treloar College, Alton." (page 4, paragraph 4)

Note: We have to wonder whether the pupils' or parents' consent was gained prior to a trial being conducted in a school? Using a new medicine for the sake of improved health, or improved yield of Factor VIII is one thing, but using the new concentrates as part of trials connected to a collaborative study is quite another.

Type: Recovered Document - Collaborative Trials
Location: UK
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27 July
BPL Elstree / PF Laboratories - Inspection Failings
In a document entitled "Blood Products and Plasma Fractionation Laboratories" there is clear knowledge of the shortcomings of both BPL and the PF Laboratory in July 1976:

"PF Laboratory has been inspected. BPL will be visited in October." (page 7, paragraph 2, line 1)

"It is not unlikely that the accommodation of both laboratories will be criticised and, in certain respects, found inadequate. Both were designed before the Medicines Act was passed and therefore several years before those responsible for applying this Act had formulated the criteria to be met." (page 7, paragraph 3)

Note: It is quite disgusting that these failings at BPL Elstree coincide with the use of their factor VIII concentrates in trials involving children at the Treloar boarding school.

Type: Recovered Document - Collaborative Trials
Location: UK
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14 May
PHLS Suggestion to Use Hepatitis-Implicated Factor VIII in the Treloar School
In a letter to the PHLS from Dr A. Aronstam of the Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital, it is clear in May 1979, that there is an intention from the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) of transfusing mild haemophiliacs with a questionable Factor VIII 'material' which would have caused mild haemophiliac patients to develop hepatitis.

Dr Aronstam strongly disagrees with the PHLS suggestion:

"We have not had any cases of hepatitis following N.H.S. Factor VIII. As far as your suggestion about transfusing mild haemophiliacs with this material is concerned, I totally disagree with this concept. I do not wish any of my mild haemophiliacs to develop hepatitis in any form and therefore adopt the policy of either using D.D.A.V.P. or Cryoprecipitate."

Note: It should be pointed out that the Lord Mayor Treloar College was in fact a boarding school for children. It is disturbing to read that the PHLS were trying to persuade the school to adopt some other type of Factor VIII material which would have caused the pupils to develop hepatitis.

What on earth was the PHLS doing contacting a school to 'promote' hazardous medicines?

Type: Recovered Document - Letter to PHLS from Dr A Aronstam of the Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital. Dated 14th May 1979
Location: UK
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9 December
BPL Elstree - Medicines Inspectorate report
The Medicines Inspectorate visit BPL Elstree and discover that BPL does not conform to acceptable industry standards. The investigation discovers that:
  • There is mould growing on a glycol line that serves one of the vessels.
  • The cold freezer does not have any kind of temperature recording apparatus.
  • There is water dripping from overhead metal panels and again mould growth is noticeable.
  • There is plaster cracking in many parts of the building, resulting in bits of plaster breaking off.
  • The autoclaves in the autoclave area have not been validated. The necessary commissioning using a multi channel recorder has not been done.
  • In Room 13, paper is taped to improve the wooden benches where Factor 8 initial phase processing chromatographic work is carried out, and there are still openable windows present in what should be an aseptic area used for sterilising solutions.
Source: The National Blood Transfusions Service Joint Management Committee (Dept Of Health Northwest Thames Regional Health Authority for the Central Blood Laboratories)
Type: Inspectorate Findings Report
Location: UK
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circa January
Sir George Young, Under Secretary of State - Warning over Hepatitis Risk
Sometime in January 1981, Sir George Young, Under Secretary of State in the Department of Health, gives a warning of the "possible risks of hepatitis" from imported products, particularly from those made from plasma supplied by paid donors.

Sir George Young's warning was reported the following month in the Sunday Telegraph (on 01.02.81) in an article entitled: "10 Sick After Factor 8 Doses". The article goes on to say:

"Imports worth an estimated £10 million of Factor 8, the missing factor in a haemophiliac's blood, come from America, Germany and Austria in powdered form to supplement the limited amount made in Britain."

Dr Charles Rizza: "There might be a greater degree of risk from commercial products."

"The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, [NIBSC] which tests all foreign blood products imported by Britain, rejects a "small amount," believed to be about 5%, of the millions of bottles of Factor 8 brought in each year."

Note: The Under Secretary of State's warning came just one month after the damning Medicines Inspectorate report of the laboratories of BPL Elstree on 9th December 1980 which gives insight into the state of domestic production. This warning over the risks of imported products from paid donors was either ignored or came too late for 10 of the haemophiliac boys attending the Lord Mayor Treloar School in Alton as by the beginning of February, they contract hepatitis from commercial Factor VIII.

They were only children, aged between 9 and 14.

Type: Article
Location: UK
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1 February
Treloar School Alton - 10 Children Contract Hepatitis from Commercial Factor VIII
UK Health ministers are warned about the dangers of importing contaminated blood products from the United States:

In February 1981, 10 children at the Treloar specialist school in Alton, Hampshire are infected with hepatitis from contaminated Factor VIII in what we believe to be a second outbreak of hepatitis B. There then follows a warning regarding infected Factor VIII supplies being imported from the USA.

The Department of Health admitted at the time that they knew there was a risk of infection and the then Health Minister, Dr Gerard Vaughan, claimed that the £1.29m being invested in the BPL Elstree would resolve the problem.

Note: We have to wonder if this second outbreak of hepatitis was as a direct consequence of an approach made by the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) two years earlier on 14th May 1979? We can determine from documentation that there was the intention from the PHLS of transfusing mild haemophiliacs with a Factor VIII 'material' which would have caused mild haemophiliac children to go on to develop hepatitis.

In a reply letter of May 1979 to the PHLS from Dr A. Aronstam of the Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital, we read that Dr Aronstam totally disagreed with the PHLS' suggested concept and he adamantly stated that he did not wish any of his mild haemophiliacs to develop hepatitis in any form.

Source: Additional Source:
Link #2
Type: Guardian Article, Circa 1983. Extra £30m could have kept out AIDS. Andrew Veitch Medical Correspondent
Location: UK
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12 February
Haemophilia Centre Directors Discuss the HIV Litigation and HCV Testing Data
In the minutes of the Nineteenth Meeting of the AIDS Group of Haemophilia Centre Directors held at The Royal Free Hospital on 12th February 1990, a discussion takes place in relation to the ongoing Haemophilia HIV litigation and situation with HCV testing data. Dr Aronstam, of the Treloar Haemophilia Centre, Alton, is placed in a somewhat questionable position by his colleagues at this meeting.

"Dr Savidge raised the point that one member of the AIDS Group was acting as an expert on behalf of the Plaintiffs' and wondered whether it was acceptable for him to take part in the Group's discussions on Litigation and the Defence of the main statement of Claim. Dr Aronstam said he was the person referred to. He had not been asked to be a medical expert witness for the plaintiffs. If the group felt it was awkward for him to be present he would leave the meeting. He pointed out that some other directors were in a similar position and more might be in the future..."

"Dr Rejman said that the cases of Plaintiffs in the Wessex Region were being held back at present and would follow on after the lead cases had been considered. Dr Aronstam said he knew of at least two cases involving his patients which were going ahead as lead cases; it was news to him that Wessex cases were being put back."

"With regard to Health Authorities' Defence to the Re-amended Statement of Claim, Dr Savidge said that he had been using heat-treated Factor VIII as early as 1983 and he was trying to get the Defence's Statement amended as it said heat-treated factor VIII was not used until the end of 1984."

"Dr Lowe suggested that Dr Simpson's advice should be sought regarding the Haemophilia Society's request for information on hepatitis. Was hepatitis likely to be another item for which haemophiliacs would seek litigation and was it advisable for the Haemophilia Centre Directors to continue to collect data? Dr Simpson said it would not be advisable for the Directors to stop collecting data as they had already started to do so. Dr Hill pointed out that hepatitis was not a new thing; only the test was new. After further discussion, Dr Simpson agreed that the Haemophilia Society should not be given hepatitis data."

"Dr Lowe thought there was a difference between testing LFTs and testing for Hepatitis C and he wondered whether the patient's consent to testing should be sought… …Prof Bloom didn't see why permission needed to be asked for Hepatitis C tests as this was just another LFT. Dr Savidge said that patients were now becoming more and more conscious of what tests were, so he would advise caution at present."

Prof Preston quoted results presented at a recent meeting on prevalence of anti HCV in spouses of haemophiliacs. A figure of 20% was found which he thought was very worrying.

Note: The Joint Secretary of the 3 Defence Unions was present at this meeting, as was Dr A. Rejman, Senior Medical Officer (SMO), haematologist and DH Secretariat to the ACVSB.

Type: Penrose Evidence File
Location: UK
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