Background: Immunocompromised patients are at increased risk of morbidity and mortality due to transfusion transmitted cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections. To avoid or minimize such risk, clinicians working in the field continually monitor the changing epidemiology of CMV infections.
Materials and Methods: A total of 234,192 blood donations obtained from 44,779 donors were tested. CMV seroprevalence and antibody conversion rates were determined over a 3-year period.
Results: A significant percentage (37.5%) of all male and female blood donors tested seropositive. Both age and gender were risk factors for CMV infection. A total of 177 seroconversions (0.4% of donors) were identified. The highest antibody conversion rate occurred among men between 30 and 39 years of age; women did not experience a similar peak in antibody conversion rate. Approximately 10% of infected blood donors were identified by CMV DNA testing prior to seroconversion.
Conclusions: The high rates of seroprevalence and seroconversion and the identification of a significant number of CMV DNA-positive (infected) blood donors prior to seroconversion indicate that the routine testing of blood samples for CMV DNA could reduce the potential risk of CMV transmission to high-risk patients.