Test Finds Some U.S. Blood Donations Positive for Chagas’ Disease

November 6, 2007

In the 10 months since the FDA licensed the first blood-screening test for Chagas’ disease, 241 blood donations in the U.S. have tested positive, indicating donor exposure to the parasite known to cause this serious and potentially fatal parasitic infection.

Chagas-positive donations have been reported in 34 states, with the highest concentration in California, Florida and Texas, according to data compiled by the American Association of Blood Banks.

Blood safety experts said they also 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 U.S., according to Johnson & Johnson, whose subsidiary manufactures the test.