How are blood donors screened to prevent transfusion-transmitted diseases?

Updated: Jan 15, 2017
  • Author: Mudassar Zia, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Donors are informed about the potential disease transmission risks from blood donors and are required to answer questions about factors that may have a bearing on the safety of their blood. For example, donors with a history of IV drug abuse are routinely deferred. Moreover, since November 1999, the FDA has requested that the blood industry defer potential donors who have lived in European countries with reported or suspected cases of BSE and those who might be carriers of the BSE agent.

Questionnaire

Donor screening is primarily performed using a questionnaire. The American Association of Blood Banks came out with version 1.3 of the donor questionnaire, which has been approved by the FDA. The information below is not all-inclusive; responses are yes or no, unless otherwise indicated. [76]

Are you

  • Feeling healthy and well today?

  • Currently taking an antibiotic?

  • Currently taking any other medication for an infection?

Please read the Medication Deferral List.

  • Are you now taking or have you ever taken any medications on the Medication Deferral List?

  • Have you read the educational materials?

In the past 48 hours

  • Have you taken aspirin or anything that has aspirin in it?

In the past 6 weeks

  • Female donors: Have you been pregnant or are you pregnant now?

In the past 8 weeks have you

  • Donated blood, platelets, or plasma?

  • Had any vaccinations or other shots?

  • Had contact with someone who had a smallpox vaccination?

In the past 16 weeks

  • Have you donated a double unit of red cells using an apheresis machine?

In the past 12 months have you

  • Had a blood transfusion?

  • Had a transplantation such as organ, tissue, or bone marrow?

  • Had a graft such as bone or skin?

  • Come into contact with someone else’s blood?

  • Had an accidental needle-stick?

  • Had sexual contact with anyone who has HIV/AIDS or has had a positive test for the HIV/AIDS virus?

  • Had sexual contact with a prostitute or anyone else who takes money or drugs or other payment for sex?

  • Had sexual contact with anyone who has ever used needles to take drugs or steroids, or anything notprescribed by their doctor?

  • Had sexual contact with anyone who has hemophilia or has used clotting factor concentrates?

  • Female donors: Had sexual contact with a male who has ever had sexual contact with another male? (Males: Check "I am male.")

  • Had sexual contact with a person who has hepatitis?

  • Lived with a person who has hepatitis?

  • Had a tattoo?

  • Had ear or body piercing?

  • Had or been treated for syphilis or gonorrhea?

  • Been in juvenile detention, lockup, jail, or prison for more than 72 hours?

In the past 3 years have you

  • Been outside the United States or Canada?

From 1980 through 1996,

  • Did you spend time that adds up to 3 months or more in the United Kingdom?

  • Were you a member of the US military, a civilian military employee, or a dependent of a member of the US military?

From 1980 to the present, did you

  • Spend time that adds up to 5 years or more in Europe?

  • Receive a blood transfusion in the United Kingdom or France?

From 1977 to the present, have you

  • Received money, drugs, or other payment for sex?

  • Male donors: had sexual contact with another male, even once? (Females: Check "I am female.")

Have you EVER

  • Had a positive test for the HIV/AIDS virus?

  • Used needles to take drugs, steroids, or anything notprescribed by your doctor?

  • Used clotting factor concentrates?

  • Had hepatitis?

  • Had malaria?

  • Had Chagas' disease?

  • Had babesiosis?

  • Received a dura mater (or brain covering) graft?

  • Had any type of cancer, including leukemia?

  • Had any problems with your heart or lungs?

  • Had a bleeding condition or a blood disease?

  • Had sexual contact with anyone who was born in or lived in Africa?

  • Been in Africa?

  • Have any of your relatives had Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)?


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