Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis Transmitted Through Blood Transfusions and Organ Transplants
A recent study published in the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal finds ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis can also be transmitted through blood transfusions or organ transplants. The article states, “Since 2000, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis cases in the United States have increased substantially, resulting in potential risk to transplant and transfusion recipients.”
The investigating clinicians reviewed cases of ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis among blood transfusion and solid organ transplant recipients in the U.S. from peer-reviewed literature and CDC studies. They identified 132 cases during 1997–2020, including 12 transfusion-associated cases and 120 cases in transplant recipients. Eight of the cases were donor-derived, and illness occurred in 13 of the cases less than one year after transplant. Disease in the remaining 99 cases occurred within one year, or longer, after transplant, which suggests that donor-derived disease was unlikely. Sadly, severe illness or death were reported among 15 transfusion and transplant recipients (Sanjida J., et al.).
The study’s authors emphasize that clinicians should be on the alert for these potential infections among transfusion and transplant recipients to prevent serious complications or death by treating them promptly.