Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Lyme: Donating Blood

An interesting point here.....

Donating blood in the UK: no screening for Lyme Disease

There are many restrictions on donating blood - all designed to prevent transmission of infection.  Usually blood transfusions are needed when people are ill or in a serious accident, so of course they don't want to be giving blood which has the potential to spread another illness.

As the poster says, in the UK donated blood is screened for Syphilis, another spirochetal bacterial infection but is not screened for Lyme disease.  Borrelia Burgdorferi is also a spirochete - a bacterium with the ability to invade any cell in the body due to their ability to burrow through tissue using their spiral-shaped 'tail'. 

This video shows and explains how spirochetes move through tissue:

In the US, the guidelines from the American Red Cross for donating blood state: 

Lyme Disease

Accept persons with Lyme disease if they were treated, the disease resolved and at least 1 year has passed.
Those with chronic Lyme disease are not eligible to donate blood. 

(From http://chapters.redcross.org/br/northernohio/INFO/eligibility.html )

These appear to vary from state-to-state.

Interestingly, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) refers the question to the Red Cross site, despite not acknowledging the existence of 'chronic' Lyme disease (also referred to as disseminated Lyme disease - where the spirochetes have travelled throughout the body and the infection is systemic; or late-stage Lyme disease).

Their advice states:

Although no cases of Lyme disease have been linked to blood transfusion, scientists have found that the Lyme disease bacteria can live in blood that is stored for donation. Individuals being treated for Lyme disease with an antibiotic should not donate blood. Individuals who have completed antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease may be considered as potential blood donors. Information on the current criteria for blood donation is available on the Red Cross website   

 (From: http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/transmission/ )

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