International survey of strategies to mitigate transfusion-transmitted Trypanosoma cruzi in non-endemic countries, 2016–2018

for the WP-TTID Subgroup on Parasites

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives: Chagas disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, is endemic to Mexico, Central and South America. While initially limited to the Americas, emigration of infected persons triggered geographically broader blood safety challenges. To mitigate transfusion-transmitted Chagas (TTC), transfusion services implemented approaches including risk factor questions and serologic testing. We sought to understand and compare strategies in non-endemic countries. Materials and Methods: Transfusion services in International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT)-affiliated organizations and members of the ISBT Working Party on Transfusion-Transmitted Infectious Diseases were invited to complete an online survey on T. cruzi mitigation strategies. The survey queried about cases of TTC, risk factors, testing methodology, educational materials, pathogen reduction, donor/product management, donor deferral and perceived public health concerns surrounding TTC. Results: Responses were received from 27 institutions in 22 countries. Most countries (77.3%) reported no historical TTC cases, while 18.2% reported 1–5 cases and 4.5% reported 6–10 cases. Concern about Chagas among the general public and public health authorities was low, but 12 of 25 blood centres reported moderate/high concern. Overall, 17 countries mitigated for TTC: 15 used risk factor questions and 10tested for T. cruzi antibodies. Ten countries used pathogen reduction but not specifically to prevent TTC. Conclusion: While Chagas is rarely cited as a public health concern, blood centres in many non-endemic countries, including those outside the Americas, implemented measures to mitigate risk. Mitigation focussed on risk factors associated with Latin American immigrants and serologic testing. Thus, despite the rarity of TTC, many non-endemic countries continue to address it as an ongoing blood safety risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-63
Number of pages6
JournalVox sanguinis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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