Tick-borne agents of disease continue to emerge and subsequently expand their geographic distribution. The threat to blood safety by tick-borne agents is ever increasing and requires constant surveillance concomitant with implementation of appropriate intervention methods. In April 2017, the Food and Drug Administration organized a public workshop on emerging tick-borne pathogens (excluding Babesia microti and Lyme disease) designed to provide updates on the current understanding of emerging tick-borne diseases, thereby allowing for extended discussions to determine if decisions regarding mitigation strategies need to be made proactively. Subject matter experts and other stakeholders participated in this workshop to discuss issues of biology, epidemiology, and clinical burden of tick-borne agents, risk of transfusion-transmission, surveillance, and considerations for decision making in implementing safety interventions. Herein, we summarize the scientific presentations, panel discussions, and considerations going forward.
I only had access to the abstract, but Dr. Cameron writes more fully on the workshop here: https://danielcameronmd.com/babesia-infection-transmitted-blood-supply/
Interestingly, according to the abstract, they excluded Babesia and Lyme, which are arguably two of the largest problems. It was pointed out that 200 cases of Babesia were transmitted through blood transfusions at the time of the workshop and that Anaplasma is next with increasing clinical cases.
Evidently there have been no reported cases of Lyme transmitted through the blood supply.
Other tick-borne pathogens have been transmitted through donated blood, but these occurrences are rare. (Or rarely reported)
- 11 cases: A. phagocytophilum, responsible for Anaplasmosis (transmitted by the Ixodes ticks)
- 2 cases: Tick-borne encephalitis virus complex (TBEV, Powassan virus, DTV), (transmitted by the Ixodes ticks)
- 1 case: Colorado tick-fever virus (transmitted by Rocky Mountain wood ticks)
- 1 case: Rickettsia rickettsii, the agent of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (transmitted by the Lone Star tick)
- 1 case: Ehrlichia ewingii (transmitted by the Lone Star tick)
In addition, “two emerging [tick-borne agents] − B. miyamotoi and Powassan virus were discussed − for B. miyamotoi,cases have steadily increased since 2014.”