Annual Review of Medicine

Full Text Article:


Emerging Infectious Threats to the Blood Supply

Abstract During the past 15 years, it has become clear that new agents and new strains of existing agents continue to emerge worldwide as protagonists of infectious disease. These emerging agents pose threats not only to the general human population but also to recipients of blood transfusions. Indeed, the modern era of blood safety perhaps began with the recognition of HIV as an emerging agent transmissible by blood transfusion. Today, emerging infectious agents that pose a threat to the blood supply are not limited to viruses, but include bacterial, protozoan, and prion agents. Preventing the transmission of these new agents by blood transfusion is often problematic, as the available tools may be inadequate. It is certain, however, that new agents will continue to emerge as threats to blood safety and these agents are likely to require novel approaches to prevent their transmission.