Infectious etiologies among post-donation deferrals in a military blood donation center

Somin Kwon*, Brian G. Casleton, Glorimar Z. Rivera, Melita M. Gella, Erin L. Winkler, John W. Kieffer, Angela B. Osuna, Theresa M. Casey, Heather C. Yun, Joseph E. Marcus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The burden of transfusion-transmitted infections among blood recipients remains low due to extensive pre- and post-donation screening. However, the military has the unique challenge of providing blood in austere environments with limited testing capabilities. This study evaluates the infectious etiologies of deferred blood donors at a large military blood donation center. Methods: All blood donors at the Armed Service Blood Bank Center, San Antonio, between 2017 and 2022 with positive post-donation screening for hepatitis C (HCV), hepatitis B (HBV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV-I/II), Zika (2018–2021), West Nile virus, Trypanosoma cruzi, Treponema pallidum, or Babesia microti (2020–2022) were evaluated. Donors were deferred based on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance. Results: Two-hundred and thirteen (213) donors met FDA criteria for deferral. T. pallidum (n = 45, 50.3 per 100,000), HCV (n = 34, 38.0 per 100,000), and HBV (n = 19, 21.2 per 100,000) were the most common pathogens among those with both positive screening and confirmatory testing. The majority of HIV (95%), Chagas (78%), HTLV-I/II (50%) deferrals were due to indeterminate confirmatory tests following initial positive screens. The majority of deferrals for HBV were for a second occurrence of a positive screen despite negative confirmatory testing. Conclusion: The rates of post-donation deferral for transfusion-transmissible infections were low in this military cohort. Our findings suggest that donor testing in deployed service members should focus on HBV, HCV, and T. pallidum and highlight the need for better diagnostics for HIV, Chagas, and HTLV-I/II.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2265-2272
Number of pages8
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • blood donor
  • military
  • transfusion-transmitted infection


Dive into the research topics of 'Infectious etiologies among post-donation deferrals in a military blood donation center'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this