Blood transfusion-transmitted infections: A global perspective

September 27, 2006

Hamilton, ON (September 25, 2006) -- Thanks to the many blood-safety interventions introduced since 1984, the overall risk for most transfusion-transmitted infections has become exceedingly small.

In the September 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Morris Blajchman, professor of Medicine at McMaster University, and medical director, Canadian Blood Services (Hamilton Centre), with co-author Dr. Eleftherios Vamvakas of Ottawa, puts into perspective the continuing risk of transfusion-transmitted infections as well as the possible safety interventions that might reduce that risk even further, particularly those due to emerging agents including variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) the human counterpart to mad cow disease.

With regard to the emerging pathogens, several newly-developed pathogen-reduction technologies have been shown to be effective in destroying most bacteria, viruses and parasites in donated blood, but ineffective against the pathogens that cause neurodegenerative diseases and those viruses that are present in exceedingly high concentrations in blood.

Newer technologies can also have a downside, notes Blajchman. They tend to reduce the effectiveness of the blood components, necessitating the transfusion of greater quantities and thus exposing patients to blood from more donors; thereby increasing the risk of infection transmission by transfusion.

"The possible additional safety interventions that might further reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections will be debated extensively over the next few years," says Blajchman.

"Regardless of the outcomes of these debates it is clear that the risk of transmission is not static. As new agents continue to emerge, old ones change their properties and epidemiologic patterns, and new information and technology become available to change our understanding of that risk."

The commentary by Blajchman and Vamvakas was written in relation to an article in the same issue of the journal concerning the transfusion-transmission of HHV-8, a virus that has the potential to cause skin tumors (Kaposi's Sarcoma) in immunocompromised recipients.
-end-


McMaster University

Related Pathogens Articles from Brightsurf:

Pathogens in the mouth induce oral cancer
Pathogens found in tissues that surround the teeth contribute to a highly aggressive type of oral cancer, according to a study published 1st October in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Yvonne Kapila of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues.

A titanate nanowire mask that can eliminate pathogens
Researchers in Lásló Forró's lab at EPFL, Switzerland, are working on a membrane made of titanium oxide nanowires, similar in appearance to filter paper but with antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Plastics, pathogens and baby formula: What's in your shellfish?
The first landmark study using next-generation technology to comprehensively examine contaminants in oysters in Myanmar reveals alarming findings: the widespread presence of human bacterial pathogens and human-derived microdebris materials, including plastics, kerosene, paint, talc and milk supplement powders.

The Parkinson's disease gut has an overabundance of opportunistic pathogens
In 2003, Heiko Braak proposed that Parkinson's disease is caused by a pathogen in the gut that could pass through the intestinal mucosal barrier and spread to the brain through the nervous system.

Crop pathogens 'remarkably adaptable'
Pathogens that attack agricultural crops show remarkable adaptability to new climates and new plant hosts, new research shows.

Inexpensive, portable detector identifies pathogens in minutes
Most viral test kits rely on labor- and time-intensive laboratory preparation and analysis techniques; for example, tests for the novel coronavirus can take days to detect the virus from nasal swabs.

Outsmarting pathogens
A new influenza strain appears each flu season, rendering past vaccines ineffective.

Autonomous microtrap for pathogens
Antibiotics are more efficient when they can act on their target directly at the site of infestation, without dilution.

Acidic environment could boost power of harmful pathogens
New findings published in PLOS Pathogens suggest lower pH in the digestive tract may make some bacterial pathogens even more dangerous.

Protozoans and pathogens make for an infectious mix
The new observation that strains of V. cholerae can be expelled into the environment after being ingested by protozoa, and that these bacteria are then primed for colonisation and infection in humans, could help explain why cholera is so persistent in aquatic environments.

Read More: Pathogens News and Pathogens Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.