Rev Chilena Infectol. 2017 Dec;34(6):539-543. doi: 10.4067/S0716-10182017000600539.

Prevalence of Bartonella henselae in blood donors and risk of blood transmission in Chile

[Article in Spanish]
Núñez MA1, Contreras K1, Depix MS1, Geoffroy E1, Villagra N2, Mellado S3, Salinas AM1.

Bartonella henselae is the causal agent of cat scratch disease in immunocompetent persons and bacterial angiomatosis in immunocompromised patients. In Chile, the prevalence of antibodies against B. henselae in healthy children and adolescents is 13.3%, in persons with occupational risk 60.5%, and in cats 85.6%. There are no published data regarding the seroprevalence in blood donors in our country, so determining if B. henselae is present in the blood of donors at the time of donation is very important, since this microorganism can survive up to 35 days in the red blood cells stored in a blood bank at 4 °C.

To determine the prevalence of B. henselae in blood donors.

140 donor blood samples were analyzed to detect the presence of B. henselae, using the polymerase chain reaction technique.

13.6% of the blood donors with positive polymerase chain reaction for B. henselae were obtained. The sequence of the amplified fragments showed an identity of over 98% with respect to B. henselae reference sequences.

The risk of blood transmission is due to a country with high B. henselae infection.



Although this study is a year old, it’s the first time I’ve seen it.  It brings up a very important point in that Bartonella can be transmitted via blood transfusion, and not only in Chile, I might add.  Authorities are still bickering about whether or not it is transmitted via ticks, but there’s no denying many Lyme/MSIDS patients have Bartonella, which points strongly to it being transmitted by ticks.  

It is not a reportable disease so again, nobody truly knows the infection rates.

Recently, Babesia, a reportable disease, is being screened for before a blood transfusion.

Bartonella is just as deadly & flies under the radar: