Other transfusion-transmitted infections

All donors and donations are subject to strict screening procedures at Lifeblood to minimise the risk of transmitting infectious agents to patients.
Our mandatory testing includes the screening of donations for the presence of Treponema pallidum (syphilis) and other non-viral infectious agents which are also potentially transmissible by blood transfusion.
However, there are some infectious agents for which routine tests are not readily available to prevent the disease from being transmitted by transfusion. These include Chagas Disease and the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) linked to the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) which is transmitted by a prion.
The residual risk of transfusion transmission varies according to the incidence of the infection in the donor population and the donor screening processes in place.


Screening procedures for donors includes collecting a comprehensive medical and travel history.

This is important to avoid the transmission of infections such as Chagas' disease, which transmitted by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, and is endemic in Central and South America. People born or who have received fresh blood components from these areas are restricted to only donating plasma for fractionation.

What to do

Treat the specific diagnosis, if available, and notify Lifeblood.

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variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD)

variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) is a prion disease that affects the central nervous system. These prion infections are known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.

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Viral infections

Several viruses are transmissible by blood transfusion. Lifeblood’s mandatory testing includes screening for a number of transfusion-transmissible viruses.

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Risk estimates for transfusion-transmissible infections (TTI)

Lifeblood publishes estimates of the residual risks of transfusion-transmissible infection as a guide for clinicians in transfusion decision-making and informed consent processes.

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Transfusion-transmissible infection surveillance in Australia

Lifeblood regularly reviews and updates the donor interview and selection process, taking into consideration local and overseas research studies, international best practice, literature reviews and analysis of surveillance data.

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Transfusion-focused infectious diseases

Fact sheets for transfusion-focused infectious diseases (TFIDs) including Australian specific diseases are produced by Lifeblood and regularly reviewed by the Donor and Product Safety Policy Unit and medical microbiologists.

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