Babesia: Updates on Donor Testing and Lookbacks

Please note: AABB reserves the right to make updates to this program.

Live Program: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - On-Demand Available

Master Program Number: 17EL-143 (see program format numbers below under Registration)

Educational Track: Technical/Clinical
Topic: Transfusion Medicine (Hemovigilance)
Intended Audience: Physicians, Managers/Supervisors, Laboratory Staff, Medical Directors, Residents
Teaching Level: Intermediate
Director/Moderator: Kathleen Puca, MD, Medical Director, Blood Center of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Speakers: Jerome Gottschall, MD, Vice President, Medical Services, Wisconsin Diagnostic Laboratories, Milwaukee, WI; Carolyn Young, MD, Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, Rhode Island Blood Center, Providence, RI; Nancy Van Buren, MD, Associate Medical Director, Innovative Blood Resources, St. Paul, MN

Learning Objectives

After participating in this educational activity, participants should be able to:

  • Summarize blood suppliers’ experience with B.microti testing on blood donors and impact to blood supply.
  • Describe the challenges associated with donor testing, recalls, and lookbacks of repeat-reactive donors.
  • Discuss communication strategies for repeat-reactive donors and for lookbacks with hospital transfusion services.

Program Description

Babesiosis, a tick-borne disease, is increasingly recognized as a transfusion-transmitted infection in certain parts of the U.S. In an effort to prevent transmission of Babesia by transfusion, several blood suppliers in moderate to high endemic areas have begun testing of donors for Babesia. Since healthy individuals infected with B.microti can be asymptomatic and have low-level parasitemia for several months if not treated, lookback of any previous donations are recommended. This program will describe the experience of blood suppliers on the implementation of Babesia testing and its effects on donors, the blood supply and hospital transfusion services.


   Program #
Single Viewer: On-Demand Register17EL-4032-143
Group Viewing: On-Demand Register17EL-8032-143

Speaker Biographies 

Dr. Kathy Puca has had a life-long career in transfusion medicine, first as a Medical Technologist working for several years in hospital transfusion services and then pursuing her M.D. degree in 1996 from the Southern Illinois University in Springfield, Illinois. She completed her Internship in Family Practice at The Toledo Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, her Residency in Pathology at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana and a Fellowship in Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine at the Institute for Transfusion Medicine with the University of Pittsburgh.

She is currently Medical Director with the Medical Sciences Institute at the BloodCenter of Wisconsin, part of Versiti.  She is the Medical Director for the Specialist in Blood Banking (SBB) program and serves as Medical Director of the TxMD™ program. In this position, she is a consultant for hospital customers to promote blood management initiatives.  Along with other BloodCenter staff, including the Transfusion Safety and Patient Blood Management Coordinators, she works with the hospital customer to adopt best practices, improve workflow, and reduce costs related to transfusion.  Dr. Puca actively promotes blood management activities including evaluation of appropriate blood utilization, recognition and reporting of adverse events, and education of nurses and providers on these topics. 

Since 2014, she also has been Co-Medical Director of Transfusion Services and Director of the Autologous HPC Processing Lab for Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, Wisconsin.  Previously, she served for 11 years as the Medical Director for ACL Wisconsin Transfusion Services, affiliated with Aurora Health Care, 14-hospital healthcare system in Wisconsin, where she provided medical direction for their centralized transfusion service.