• Question: What viruses can be passed on through blood transfusion?

    Asked by 152nsjes to Cat, Daz, Holly, Johnson, Pamela on 22 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Holly Shelton

      Holly Shelton answered on 16 Jun 2011:


      Well blood bourne viruses include HIV (which can cause AIDS), Hepatitis C virus, Hepatitis B virus. Some viruses or bacteria are transmitted indirectly through blood for example viruses or bacteria that are taken from one animal or person via their blood into a mosquito and then that mosquito will bite another person and inject it into their blood include malaria and west nile disease.

      In this country blood is screened for HIV, Hep C and Hep B before blood transfusions so the likelihood of contracting these are really smal through a transfusion.

      Hope that helps


    • Photo: Cat O'Connor

      Cat O'Connor answered on 17 Jun 2011:

      Hi 152nsjes,

      I think Holly has given you a great answer!

      There is a bit of a worry about another kinda type of microorganism that can be passed through blood transfusion and this is the prions that cause Mad Cow Disease in cows but a disease call new varient Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease or just CJD in humans. I say it’s kind a micoorganism because it’s not a bacteria or a virus, more a particular type of protein (!?!) that can damage your brain and cause you to get very sick and in most cases die!

      Thankfully, there is very very little of Mad Cow Disease and CJD in the UK anymore, and it’s pretty rare all over the world too. The blood transfusions guys also take extra precautions to make it stays out of the blood too.

      I hope you found that snippet of information interesting,


    • Photo: Pamela Lithgow

      Pamela Lithgow answered on 18 Jun 2011:

      Hi 152nsjes,
      I just wanted to answer to agree with Holly! There are a number of viruses that can be transmitted in the blood but (in the UK) screening is very good to try and prevent these things. But we always have to be on the look out because if a new disease emerges they might not be screening for it and then it could get passed on by blood transfusion.
      I hope this adds a little something
      Pam 🙂

    • Photo: Darren Braddick

      Darren Braddick answered on 22 Jun 2011:

      Hi 152nsjes

      I think Holly, Cat and Pam answered this pretty well!!

      Its a horrible thing though, that some viruses and prions (which are basically contagious proteins – very nasty) can get through our protection systems and some can’t even be detected that well.

      Luckily, as the ladies say, our protection systems aren’t bad, and hopefully do very good to protect our blood supply. Having clean and safe human blood is so important, because people who get injured and need to go to hospital often need blood very quickly, and sometimes in large amounts. It is so important that people give blood if they can, so so important. It’s a very honourable thing to do 🙂

      I hope this helps answer your question!