Transfusion medicine
Transfusion transmitted disease
Babesiosis and transfusions

Author: Huy Phu Pham, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 15 November 2017, last major update September 2011

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Babesiosis and transfusions [title]

Cite this page: Pham, H.P. Babesiosis and transfusions. website. Accessed April 22nd, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Babesiosis is caused by Bebesia microti in North America (transmitted by tick bite, Medscape: Babesiosis [Accessed 26 October 2017])
  • Parasite survives within refrigerated red cells (Transfus Med Rev 2002;16:131, Am Fam Physician 2001;63:1969)
  • Most frequently reported tick borne pathogen transmitted by blood transmission in the US (Transfus Med Rev 2002;16:131)
  • More than 50 cases of transfusion transmitted babesiosis reported in U.S.
  • In Connecticut, estimated risk up to 1 in 1000; PCR revealed about 1 in 1,800 donors in Connecticut are parasitemic
  • Transfusion transmitted babesiosis symptoms: fever developing 1 - 4 weeks after transfusion; also headache, hemolysis; rarely renal failure and coagulopathy; often no / mild symptoms
  • High risk patients include immunocompromised, elderly, and asplenic patients (Transfusion 2000;40:285)
  • Donor selection strategy: don't collect blood in areas where disease vectors are endemic in spring and summer months
  • NAT or serologic testing can be done in future