Blood Transfusion Services
National blood transfusion services have the responsibility to collect blood only from donors who are at low risk for any infection that could be transmitted through transfusion and who are unlikely to jeopardize their own health by blood donation.
The national guidelines are based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines published in 2012.
The 2012 WHO document :
Blood donor selection : guidelines on assessing donor suitability for blood donation.
ISBN 978 92 4 154851 9
Paragraph 7.5.2 concerning Lyme disease
The spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi is carried by insect vectors including ticks, horseflies and mosquitoes.
It can survive blood storage temperatures.
Transfusiontransmission is possible but has not been reported.
Infected individuals usually exhibit symptoms of rash, fever, lymphadenopathy, often progressing to chronic arthropathy and/or neurological involvement, and are likely to be identified and excluded by careful donor selection.
Defer : Individuals with a current diagnosis of Lyme disease: defer for 28 days following completion of treatment and full recovery, whichever is longer.
European national blood transfusion services have additional precautions about Lyme disease.
They are listed here :
Red Cross Flanders
For a donation, all donors receive a medical questionnaire that they complete and sign in good faith.
These questions include:
All these questions assess, among other things, the risk of infection, including infection with Borrelia spp., and are discussed further with the selection doctor or health care worker. Donors who have had a tick bite are excluded for 4 weeks if the tick has persisted on the skin for more than 24 hours (or if there were signs of infection such as e.g. erythema migrans). Donors who have not fully recovered clinically from Lyme for 4 weeks (= 4 weeks completely free of symptoms and medication) will also be postponed. If there is the slightest doubt about these criteria, a donor is deferred for donation.
All donors also receive a postal donation card with their donation, among other things to report matters that they were not yet aware of at the time of their blood donation.
More information on the webpage for the guidelines around a tick bite and Lyme disease:
https://www.rodekruis.be/wat-kan-jij-doen/ Geef-bloed-of-plasma/bloed-geven-hoe-waar-en-mag-ik/#ben-je-verkouden-of-ziek -have-you-have-a-medical-condition-or-infection
With a tick bite?
Croix-Rouge de Belgique (partie francophone et germanophone)
Belgian Red Cross (French-speaking and German-speaking part)
Belgique francophone et germanophone
The Blood Service of the Belgian Red Cross (French-speaking and German-speaking part) currently applies the following criteria in the event of suspected borreliosis or Lyme disease diagnosed in a blood, plasma or platelet donor :
Borreliosis, Lyme disease: contraindication to temporary donation for 3 months from recovery
We do not carry out a corresponding biological test.
Punainen Risti Veripalvelu
Finnish Red Cross Blood Service
In Finland, the guidelines published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2012, section 7.5.2, are followed to the letter.
The most detailed additional precautions are not taken to test for borreliosis in the blood of donors.
Centro Nazionale Sangue Istituto Superiore di Sanità
National Blood Centre Higher Institute of Health
In consideration of the low number of cases in the general population notified annually to the Italian Ministry of Health, in Italy the transfusion risk for Lyme disease is considered negligible. Therefore, even considering the absence of evidence of transfusion transmission, blood donor screening is not performed.
Currently, the prevention measures for the Italian blood transfusion network are exclusively the anamnestic investigation and the consequent deferral, up to 12 months after recovery for subjects who have contracted the Lyme disease.