Babesiosis: Transfusion-Transmitted Mini Review

The Journal of Clinical Microbiology (Drews, S.J.; et al.) 09.26.2023 published, “Transfusion-transmitted Babesia spp.: a changing landscape of epidemiology, regulation, and risk mitigation.” In this mini review, authors describe the epidemiology of Babesia for humans, vectors, and pathogen hosts as impacts of climate change influence occurrence and risks associated with this pathogen. 

Transmission of Babesia spp. between humans has been reported through transfusion of red blood cells and platelet concentrates, resulting in moderate to severe illnesses in most cases of recipients of these infected blood products. Authors reveal that transmission-transmitted Babesia infections is a growing issue in the US, and may become a greater issue outside of the US as greater awareness, recognition, and occurrences of this disease spreads. These are all growing concerns for microbiologists working in both clinical and “blood operator” settings where transfusions take place.

Authors provide an overview of the clinical presentation of transfusion-transmitted Babesia and they identify methods to reduce risks of Babesia infected blood being collected from donors. They further describe investigations of these occurrences and detail how Babesia can be assessed in the changing landscape of “non-endemic” regions by microbiologists that are responsible for decision making in reducing risks of transfusion-transmitted Babesia.

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