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Transfusion medicine

Tranfusion-transmitted disease

Babesiosis and transfusions

Reviewer: Huy Phu Pham, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 31 October 2011, last major update September 2011
Copyright: (c) 2007-2011, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Babesiosis is caused by Bebesia microti in North America (transmitted by tick bite, eMedicine #1, #2)
● Parasite survives within refrigerated red cells (Transfus Med Rev 2002;16:131, Am Fam Physician 2001;63:1969, eMedicine #1, #2)
● Most frequently reported tick-borne pathogen transmitted by blood transmission in the US (Transfus Med Rev 2002;16:131)
● Over 50 cases of transfusion transmitted babesiosis reported in US
● In Connecticut, estimated risk up to 1 in 1000; PCR revealed about 1 in 1800 donors in Connecticut are parasitemic
Transfusion transmitted babesiosis symptoms: fever developing 1Ė4 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: donít collect blood in areas where disease vectors are endemic in spring and summer months
● NAT or serologic testing can be done in future

Case reports

● Asymptomatic donor with multiple recipients (Transfusion 2002;42:1154, JAMA 1999;281:927)
● WA1-type Babesia transmission (Transfusion 2002;42:1482, J Infect Dis 1997;175:1259)
● After heart transplant (Emerg Infect Dis [serial online] 2003 Jan)
● Cases in Canada (CMAJ 2001;164:1721), Japan (J Clin Microbiol 2000;38:4511)

End of Transfusion Medicine > Tranfusion-transmitted disease > Babesiosis and transfusions

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