About 18 months ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began looking into screening blood donors for the parasite, Babesia microti. Officials say that B. microti is the highest-ranking pathogen that is transmitted by blood transfusion in the U.S. for which no donor screening is available.

Donated blood /Ethan Morgan USAF
Donated blood /Ethan Morgan USAF

Scientists at the American Red Cross in Gaithersburg, MD and the Norwood, MA laboratory, Imugen looked at Screening for Babesia microti in the U.S. Blood Supply in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Susan Stramer, PhD, VP of Scientific Affairs at the Red Cross joined me to talk about Babesia, the methods for the study, their findings and conclusions.

Concerning the question on whether Babesia screening will be routine for blood donations, Dr Stramer said, “Screening is feasible, these tests are before the FDA awaiting licensure, and yes I believe once licensed, FDA will require screening in certain portions of the United States where Babesia is common.”

LISTEN to the interview below:

The Outbreak News This Week Radio Show, the first and only radio program dedicated to infectious disease and health news and information, airs every Sunday at 8 pm ET in the Tampa Bay area on AM 1380 The Biz and online at http://1380thebiz.com/

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