In spite of stringent donor screening and extensive laboratory
testing, blood still can transmit infectious diseases. Emerging
infectious diseases may contaminate the blood supply and affect
availability of blood products. Your patients may ask you about the
safety of the blood you are giving them, or about their chances of
getting AIDS if they need a transfusion. Patients often wonder “Would
it be a good idea if my spouse donated blood for me?” and families
often ask "Can I donate blood for my relative (child, brother, sister,
- Be able to name the blood component most likely to cause bacterial sepsis, and explain the reason why.
able to identify the two major causes of post-transfusion hepatitis,
frequency of occurrence in the US population, and relative risk of
transmission in blood transfusions.
- Be able to give the approximate risk of HIV transmission per unit of blood.
able to explain the meaning of “window period” in the context of
transmission of West Nile virus in blood or transplanted tissues.
able to explain why directed donation (blood given by relatives or
friends) should not be regarded as safer than blood from a regular
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