Iatrogenous transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi
by blood transfusion was suggested as a potential risk by Pellegrino (1949). Seropositive blood donors in Mexico were first reported in 1978, however, limited information is available due to small sampling, the use of heterogeneous serologic assays, and geographically limited studies. A wide survey carried out in 18 out of the 32 states of Mexico, showed a national mean of 1.6% seropositive among 64,969 donors, ranging from 0.2 to 2.8%.
In the present study, we have screened 43,048 voluntary blood donors in a period of five years at the Instituto Nacional de Cardiología I. Chávez, a concentration hospital located in Mexico city which serves mainly the metropolitan area and accepts from all over the country. Standardized ELISA and IIF were used to identify seropositive individuals in addition to hemoculture, PCR and standard 12 lead ECG tests that were applied to a group of seropositive patients (29/161). The result showed a seropositivity of 0.37% (161/43,048). From the group of seropositive individuals 40% (12/29) were potential carriers of T. cruzi
at the donation time and 5/29 had subclinical ECG abnormalities. Parasitological tests performed in 70 erythrocyte and platelet fractions from seropositive units (70/161) showed negative results. Our findings strongly support T. cruzi
screening in the transfusion medicine practice and identify subclinical heart disease among seropositive blood donors.