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Blood Donations in U.S. Testing Positive for Chagas' Disease
Date:10/20/2007

Blood Safety Experts Investigating New Cases of Chagas' Disease

Transmission via Bug Bites & Blood Transfusions

ANAHEIM, Calif., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- In the ten months since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensed the first blood-screening test for Chagas' disease, some 241 blood donations in the United States have tested positive, indicating donor exposure to the parasite known to cause this serious and potentially fatal parasitic infection, according to data released today at the annual meeting of American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). The test is manufactured by Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Inc.

Chagas'-positive donations have been reported in 34 states with the highest concentration in California, Florida and Texas, according to data compiled by the AABB.

During presentations at the conference today, blood safety experts also said they are investigating new cases of transmissions of Chagas' disease that may have occurred through blood transfusions and via insect bites from bugs known to carry the parasite. Such cases have been extremely rare, or have gone undocumented, in the United States. Dr. Susan Stramer, executive scientific officer for the America Red Cross, said blood safety experts are investigating 20 cases of possible insect-to-human transmissions with strong evidence suggesting that nine cases may have occurred in the U.S. Also, the Red Cross is investigating four possible transmissions via blood transfusions. Details of these cases were not disclosed.

"While we have known that Chagas' disease was present in North America, the numbers of Chagas'-positive blood donations, as well as new reports of transmission of infection to persons from bugs, are surprising," said James H. Maguire, M.D., director, International Health Division, University of Maryland School of Medicine. Maguire is the former chief of the parasitic diseases branch at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CD
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SOURCE Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Inc.
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