Bacterial sepsis is second only to ABO incompatibility as a cause of death from transfusion.
Bacterial contamination of platelets is recognised as the most significant residual infectious risk of transfusion in developed countries.
All platelet components from Lifeblood are screened for bacterial contamination.
The removal of potentially bacteria-contaminated components from the blood supply prior to transfusion improves the safety of the blood supply and can help avoid adverse outcomes.
Additionally, knowledge of potential bacterial contamination should help early clinical review and consideration of antibiotic intervention in situations where components have already been transfused.
Lifeblood continuously monitors bacterial contamination rates in Australia and these numbers are in line with international published data of approximately 1 in 1,000–3,000 units of platelets (single donor apheresis and whole blood pooled platelets).