Transfusion transmitted Yersinia enterocolitica infection in New Zealand.

TitleTransfusion transmitted Yersinia enterocolitica infection in New Zealand.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsTheakston EP, Morris AJ, Streat SJ, Baker BW, Woodfield DG
JournalAustralian and New Zealand journal of medicine//Aust N Z J Med
Pagination62 - 7
Date Published1997
ISBN Number0004-8291
Other Numbers9h9, 1264322
Keywords*Blood Transfusion/ae [Adverse Effects], *Yersinia enterocolitica, *Yersinia Infections/et [Etiology], Adolescent, Adult, Fatal Outcome, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, New Zealand, Yersinia Infections/pc [Prevention & Control]

AIMS: To update and summarise cases of transfusion-transmitted Yersinia enterocolitica infection in New Zealand and to evaluate critically suggested methods to reduce this rare but frequently fatal complication of blood transfusion., METHODS: Case reports of four recent transfusion-transmitted Y. enterocolitica infections in New Zealand are given and previous reports reviewed. Literature review and evaluation of proposed methods to decrease the incidence of transfusing yersinia contaminated blood., RESULTS: There have been eight cases of transfusion-transmitted Y. enterocolitica infection in New Zealand in the past five years. Four of the five deaths have been directly caused by the transfusion. This gives a transfusion incidence rate of one:65,000 and a fatality rate of one:104,000 units transfused. This fatality rate is more than 80 times higher than that reported in the United States., CONCLUSIONS: Why the incidence of transfusion-transmitted yersinia is so high is not clear, since we do not store blood as long as many other countries, particularly the United States. In Auckland, however, the cases came at a time when the number of yersinia isolates from the community is reported to be rising. Many suggestions for the prevention of this problem have been put forward reflecting the fact that there is as yet no perfect solution. Those which are easy to implement and cheap to perform are largely already in place and investigation is continuing into the other alternatives.

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