Blood Screening: Bacterial contamination of platelets

Blood Screening

Immunetics safeguards the blood supply

Diagnosis of infectious diseases is an imperfect science. The emergence of new diseases and the variable responses of individuals to infection present constant challenges to public health and medicine. Laboratory testing is a vital part of the diagnostic process, contributing objective results which complement clinical findings to help establish the cause of disease.


Bacterial contamination of platelets is the greatest infectious risk of blood product transfusion today. Bacterial contamination of platelets typically occurs during collection, processing, or storage, often introduced through donor skin or environmental sources. Contaminating bacteria, especially gram-positive organisms like Staphylococcus spp. and Bacillus spp., can rapidly multiply in platelet units stored at room temperature. This contamination can lead to transfusion-related sepsis or other adverse reactions in recipients. Preventive measures include stringent aseptic techniques, proper donor screening, and the use of bacterial detection methods and pathogen reduction technologies.

Advancements in bacterial contamination detection and prevention in platelets have significantly improved transfusion safety. Newer methods include rapid testing technologies, such as PCR-based assays, which can quickly detect bacterial contaminants before platelet transfusion. Pathogen reduction technologies, like UV light or chemical treatments, have also shown promise in reducing bacterial contamination risk. Additionally, improved donor screening and blood collection techniques help minimize the risk of bacterial contamination in platelets.


In spite of safeguards and rigorous aseptic procedures, bacteria can enter the blood supply. Even though this occurs infrequently, it represents a risk to patients. Despite the small number of bacteria that might contaminate a donated unit, bacteria may proliferate between the time the unit is collected and transfused. Platelet concentrates pose a significantly greater risk to patients because they must be stored at room temperature, creating a more favorable environment for bacterial growth than found in refrigerated blood components. Within a short time, bacteria can reach a level in stored platelets which poses a serious threat to a transfusion recipient.


Gentaur offers a product called the "Platelet Bacterial Contamination Rapid Test Kit," which is designed for the rapid detection of bacterial contamination in platelet units. This kit utilizes PCR technology to detect bacterial DNA, providing quick and accurate results to ensure the safety of platelet transfusions.

Our unique approach offers the following benefits:

  1. A method that detects both gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial pathogens
  2. More accurate screening with a test with high sensitivity and specificity
  3. Ease of use that allows lab personnel to process more samples concurrently
  4. Quick turn around time which maximizes platelet shelf life

Platelets and infection