Transfusion medicine
Transfusion transmitted disease

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

Revised: 27 October 2017, last major update September 2011

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

PubMed Search: "Transfusion transmitted disease"

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Table of Contents
Definition / general | Prevention
Cite this page: Pham, H.P. Transfusion transmitted disease - general. website. Accessed January 21st, 2019.
Definition / general
  • In theory, any pathogen (bacteria, viruses, parasites) can be transmitted via transfusion; blood is nutritious media for microorganisms
  • Most transmissions result in transient and self limited illnesses without major sequalae
  • Mitigation of transfusion transmission of infectious pathogens is mainly based on donor selection and donor testing
  • Most transfusion transmitted infections occur in the window period - between the infection and the ability to initially detect the infectious pathogen
Donor selection, screening, and donor questionnaire:
  • Questionnaire is based primarily on the honesty of the donors, donor education (don't donate if sick) and selection (volunteer, not paid donors)
  • Demographic exclusions based on potential exposure
  • Check list of prior deferred donors
  • Examine and prepare phlebotomy site to minimize skin related microorganisms
  • Test blood for selected known agents
  • Discard components if post donation evidence of exposure or illness
  • Can also limit unnecessary transfusions and increase autologous donations (may be infectious but rarely are given to nondonors) (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2005;129:1212, Arch Pathol Lab Med 2005;129:981)

In US, currently test blood products for: