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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (21 April) . . Page.. 1075 ..

My answer is as follows:

As previously stated, it is very difficult to accurately predict the number of persons who will fall into the compensation category and the level of compensation to which those persons will be entitled.

Based on information provided by third parties, there are approximately 30-35 individuals to date who have registered an interest in pursuing a claim for compensation. I stress however, that this information is changing on a regular basis and that there is no necessary correlation to the number of individuals who will ultimately benefit from the compensation scheme as very few of these claims have been investigated or substantiated. At the same time, the Lookback Program has not to date identified any person who received blood within the compensable period from a donor who subsequently tested positive to hepatitis C. This situation is certain to change.

My answer to the supplementary question is as follows: In answer to the first part of the question concerning the estimate of a 50% death rate of persons who have received blood from a donor who subsequently tested positive to hepatitis C. This estimate is based on the experience of the Lookback Program in other states and on the clinical estimate of mortality rates among individuals who have received a blood transfusion.

There has been a higher than expected proportion of deaths so far with the tracing of the identified units of blood from donors who have subsequently tested positive to hepatitis C. However, this is primarily related to the 'donor triggered lookback' component and the numbers may well even out once all recipients are identified. I stress again that there are no absolutes to be categorically stated at this stage of the Lookback Program.

In answer to the last part of the question. Any individual who is deceased as a result of hepatitis C is likely to have contracted the virus at least two decades ago and outside of the compensable period.

Hepatitis C is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It causes inflammation of the liver and can be transmitted via blood. Chronic infection occurs in the majority of people infected by HCV (70%-85%). Studies to date indicate that the disease has a long lead time, the mean period for onset of symptoms being 13 years following exposure. A small proportion of people with persistent infection develop liver failure and/or hepatocellular carcinoma after two or three decades.

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