The risk of acquiring an infectious disease through blood transfusion has not been totally eliminated even though the level and sensitivity of testing today makes transfusion very safe. Physicians/hospital staff should report all instances when an infectious disease is reasonably likely to have been transmitted by a blood transfusion.
The requirements for investigating Transfusion Associated Infections (TAI) are found in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Section 606.170, and the AABB Standards.
The most commonly investigated infectious diseases are: retrovisruses, hepatitis viruses, West Nile virus, malaria, babesiosis, and Chagas Disease.
The hospital’s investigation includes:
- Complete medical history
- Clinical laboratory data
- History of known risk factors for the reported infection
The objectives of blood center investigations of TAI are:
- Quarantine of additional infectious components
- Deferral of an “unsafe” donor
- Notification of the donor and other recipients of the donor’s blood
- Process improvements
In January of each year, United Blood Services sends the “Letter to Encourage Reporting of TAI” to transfusion facilities served by the center. It is the responsibility of the transfusion facility to have monitoring and identification mechanisms and policies in place to recognize potential TAI related to transfusion and to report them to the blood center.
If a possible TAI is identified, complete a Report of Transfusion Associated Infection form (BS 314) and submit to your blood center. The center will forward the form to the Medical Affairs department at our national office for investigation and evaluation. A follow-up letter(s) is sent to the transfusion facility to allow the facility to notify the recipient’s attending physician of the results of the investigation.