Transfusion-transmissible infections: Other infectious agents

Transfusion-transmissible infections are delayed (>24 hours), non-immunological transfusion reactions.

To minimise the risk of potential blood donors transmitting infectious agents to patients, all donations used for the production of fresh blood components are subjected to stringent screening procedures. The Australian Red Cross Blood Service mandatory testing includes the screening of donations for the presence of Treponema pallidum (syphilis). Other non-viral infectious agents are also potentially transmissible by blood transfusion.

However there are some infectious agents for which there are no routine tests available to prevent the disease from being transmitted by transfusion. For example, Trypanosoma cruzi (Chagas Disease) and the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) causing prion (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease).

The residual risk of transmission by transfusion varies according to the incidence of the infection in the donor population and the donor screening processes that are in place.


The treating clinician should perform a clinical assessment and microbial investigation for features of the suspected clinical infection.

What to do?

Treat the specific diagnosis, if available.

Notify the Blood Service.