AIDS Cases Up Sharply; Death Rate Hits 51%

United Press International

The number of AIDS cases in the United States jumped 84% in 1985, and the number of AIDS cases linked to blood transfusions more than tripled, federal health officials said today.

Along with the increase in AIDS infections, the national Centers for Disease Control said the fatality rate from the disease, for which there is no cure or effective treatment, rose to 51%.

The death rate for AIDS victims diagnosed before July, 1984, was even greater, increasing to 79%. The CDC said 59% of the children who have AIDS have died of the infection.

Cases of AIDS related to blood transfusions increased from 56 in 1984 to 171 last year, despite the implementation of a blood-screening program to identify donors infected with the AIDS virus.

Long Development Period

The CDC said the impact of the blood-screening program and deferral of those at increased risk probably were not reflected in national AIDS reporting because of the long period between infection with the virus and development of the disease.

"We would hope to see a decrease in the next two to three years," said Dr. Mead Morgan of the CDC's AIDS activity branch.

The incubation period for the disease can be as long as seven years, the CDC said, and "the possibility of longer incubation periods cannot be excluded."

Since June 1, 1981, there have been 16,458 AIDS cases reported to the CDC, including 16,227 adults and 231 children. Of those, 8,361 have died.

Number Increases

"The number of cases reported each six-month period continues to increase, although not exponentially, as evidenced by the lengthening case-doubling times," the CDC said.

Morgan said that early in the AIDS epidemic, the number of cases appeared to be doubling every five months. "More recently, the number of reported AIDS cases have doubled from about 8,000 to over 16,000 in 11 months. We expect doubling times to continue to lengthen," he said.

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