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Transfusion. 2012 Sep;52(9):1931-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2012.03599.x. Epub 2012 Mar 13.

The early implementation of Trypanosoma cruzi antibody screening of donors and donations within England: preempting a problem.

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1
National Transfusion Microbiology Reference Laboratory and Clinical Transfusion Microbiology, NHS Blood and Transplant, Hospital for Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK. alan.kitchen@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Trypanosoma cruzi is a parasitic infection endemic in Central and Southern America, but is spreading into nonendemic countries with migration of infected individuals from endemic countries. The parasite is transmitted by transfusion or transplantation and donation screening is performed routinely in endemic countries to prevent transmission. In situations where migrants from endemic countries have settled in nonendemic countries and present as donors (blood or other cellular products), intervention is required to prevent transfusion or transplantation transmission.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:

A screening program for T. cruzi was developed and has been used successfully for over 10 years that includes donor selection and donation screening. Donor selection criteria to identify specific risk of T. cruzi infection were developed together with laboratory screening of donations for T. cruzi antibodies and the subsequent confirmation of screen reactivity.

RESULTS:

Since the introduction of T. cruzi screening in England in 1998, a total of 38,585 donors and donations have been screened for T. cruzi antibodies, of which 223 were repeat reactive on screening and referred for confirmation: 206 confirmed negative, 14 inconclusive, and three positive. Since the move in 2005 from donor qualification to donation release testing, 15,536 donations were collected and screened, of which 15,499 (99.8%) were T. cruzi antibody negative and released to inventory.

CONCLUSION:

An effective program to minimize risk of the transmission of T. cruzi infection via donations has been developed and implemented. Not only does the program minimize risk of transmission, it also minimizes the cumulative, and needless, loss of donors and donations that would ensue if permanent donor deferral alone was adopted.

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