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Malaria and Blood transfusions

Graham Shepherd muhero at globalnet.co.uk
Mon Nov 23 08:28:22 EST 1998

amber wrote in message
<911646755.8161.0.nnrp-02.c2dedeeb at news.demon.co.uk>...
>Hi, to whoever can help me.
>I was recently asked a question from my A level students concerning the
>possibility that malaria could be contracted via blood transfusions.  I
>them that my instinct was that it could not, however I would find out for
>them.  I have researched extensively to no avail, so I am now asking 'the
>experts' out there to help me.
>If malaria can be transmitted via transfusions, I would like to know the
>mechanisms and whether or not blood is routinely screened for the
>If it is not transmitted via transfusions I would like to know why not
>are a bright group, I can't put them off!).  I have a good knowledge (I
>thought :-) ) of microbiology, so I would appreciate an in-depth answer.
>            Thanks in advance
>                        Amber.

I'm pretty sure that blood donations are not tested for malaria (how would
you  test for it?) but that blood donors are screened by interview. If you
want to find out about transmission of some diseases by transfusion you have
to go back quite a bit.  For example syphilis can be transmitted via blood
donation. There are about three or four case reports - but only when the
transfusion was direct donor to patient. The bug dies rapidly in the normal
cold store temperatures used for blood today; donors ARE screened (because a
simple cheap test is available) and the infection is now rare. I'm willing
to bet that malaria has been transmitted by transfusion, but probably not in
the last fifty years. Any transfusion scientists out there with better


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