Leishmania infection in blood donors: A new challenge in leishmaniasis transmission?

PLoS One. 2018 Jun 14;13(6):e0198199. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0198199. eCollection 2018.


Transfusion-transmitted leishmaniasis has been a concern in regions endemic for the disease. Whether immediate or delayed, the risks posed by this mode of transmission call for careful assessment. The purpose of this study was to detect Leishmania infection in blood donors living in an endemic area and to investigate progression to the disease in these individuals. Immunofluorescent antibody test, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, leishmaniasis rapid test, and the polymerase chain reaction were applied to 430 donors in an initial evaluation. Of those donors with at least one positive test, 50 were reevaluated four years later by the same methods, as were 25 controls who had been negative on the same tests. In the first evaluation, Leishmania infection was detected in 41.4% (95% CI: 36.7-46.1) of donors (n = 430). None of the 75 reevaluated individuals had developed the disease, but retesting revealed positivity in at least one test in 36.0% (95% CI: 25.1-46.9) of donors. Of the 50 initially testing positive, 50% remained so on retesting. Of the 25 initially negative controls, two tested positive in the subsequent evaluation. The severity of the parasitosis and the risk of transfusion transmission warrant investigation of the potential inclusion of methods for Leishmania detection into blood banks for effective screening of infected donors.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Donors*
  • Blood Safety / methods*
  • Donor Selection / methods*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leishmania*
  • Leishmaniasis / blood*
  • Leishmaniasis / transmission
  • Male
  • Middle Aged

Grant support

The work received financial support from the Fundação de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento do Ensino, Ciência e Tecnologia do Estado de Mato Grosso do Sul (Fundect), http://fundect.ledes.net/, termos de outorga n° 0191/12, SIAFEM:020919, Processo: 23/200.686/2012 (to MAP) and n° 114/2014, SIAFEM:023670, Processo: 23/200.262/2014 (to MEMCD). e-mail:projetos@fundect.ms.gov.br.