Transfusion. 1989 Sep; 29(7): 646-5.

Lyme disease--another transfusion risk?

Aoki SK, Holland PV.

Sacramento Medical Foundation Blood Center, California.

Lyme disease (or Lyme borreliosis) is caused by a spirochetal bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi. Increased recognition of the disease and increased exposure to the vector (ticks) capable of spreading B. burgdorferi from animal hosts have resulted in a rise in the number of cases of Lyme borreliosis reported in the United States. There are three stages of the clinical course of Lyme borreliosis; however, not all those infected will have typical manifestations of each stage, such as the arthritis of the third stage. Routine blood cultures will rarely document bacteremia and serologic testing is not yet reliable. Early treatment can prevent later stages of Lyme borreliosis. There is evidence that transmission of B. burgdorferi by blood transfusion is possible, but, to date, there has been no documentation of transfusion-associated Lyme borreliosis. Thus, no new recommendations for screening donors to identify possible carriers of B. burgdorferi are suggested at this time.