In the United States, the risk of transmission of infectious agents through transfusion of blood components (Red Blood Cells, Platelets, and Plasma) and plasma derivatives (clotting factor concentrates, immune globulins, and protein-containing plasma volume expanders) is extremely low. Nevertheless, continued vigilance, including improved surveillance and reporting, is crucial, because no uniform system for transfusion reaction surveillance exists in the United States, and the blood supply remains vulnerable to organisms associated with newly identified or emerging infections. This chapter reviews blood and plasma collection procedures in the United States, factors that have contributed to enhancing the safety of the blood supply, some of the known and emerging infectious agents and related blood safety concerns, and approaches to decreasing the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections.
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