Blood donations are subject to a battery of tests that play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the blood supply. These tests are designed to identify diseases that can potentially be transmitted through blood transfusions. Among the well-known pathogens that are screened for are hepatitis and HIV. However, there are lesser-known threats like HTLV, T. cruzi (the parasite behind Chagas disease), and the West Nile virus, all of which are on the radar for thorough testing. These meticulous measures are mandated by the FDA, primarily focusing on making blood as safe as possible. Thanks to these rigorous testing protocols, the risk of transmitting HIV or hepatitis through a blood transfusion has been drastically reduced to an astonishingly low one in about 2 million cases.
In addition to disease screening, blood donations are also tested for compatibility regarding blood type. This ensures that the donated blood is a suitable match for the recipient, minimizing the risk of adverse reactions during transfusion.