The risks of transfusion-transmitted infection remain a concern to many patients, although they are now lower than ever ( Contreras and Barbara 1993; B.u..s.c.h 1995).

Transmission of HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C is rare (Table..2); however, other agents, such as human T-cell lymphotrophic virus (HTLV), malaria, and trypanosomiasis (Chagas' disease), are important in certain geographical areas. In an attempt to avoid such infections, the use of directed donations (from relatives or friends) may be requested, but studies in the United States have shown that these are no safer than allogeneic blood donations. Bacterial contamination of blood components still occurs occasionally, and all red cell units should be examined for hemolysis before infusion.

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