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Blood Transfusions and T. cruzi

  • Metacyclic trypomastigotes are periodically found in blood of asymtomatic donors and are the infective stage
  • AABB recommends testing blood and blood products for T. cruzi since FDA approved test is available
  • 1800 cases in blood donors have been confirmed
  • Only 7 cases of T. cruzi have been reported from blood transfusions
  • FDA recommends every donor be tested at least once by an approved serological test
  • If positive for T. cruzi repeatedly, donor should be permanently deferred
  • Parasites persist in whole blood 18 days, 5 days in platelets and less than 24 hours in fresh frozen plasma
  • 5 of the reported cases of Chagas disease received infected platlets and one was leukoreduced
  • In Latin America 12-25% of persons who receive a transfusion from an infected donor develop the disease