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August 20, 1997

Platelet Transfusion Reaction Due to Yersinia enterocolitica

Author Affiliations

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Ga
Walter Reed Army Medical Center Washington, DC

JAMA. 1997;278(7):550. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550070042035

To the Editor.  —Although the safety of more than 20 million units of blood products transfused in the United States each year has improved through modifications in donor screening and testing in response to the human immunodeficiency virus epidemic, residual risk remains for acquisition of infection caused by emerging pathogens, including Yersinia enterocolitica.1,2

Report of a Case.  —In March 1997, a 57-year-old man with acute granulocytic leukemia was transfused with a unit of pooled platelet concentrate. Forty-five minutes after the infusion began, the patient developed severe rigors; the transfusion was stopped. Bacterial contamination of the platelet concentrate was suspected. Although Gram stain of the unit was negative, culture of the remaining platelet concentrate yielded Y enterocolitica, serotype 0:3. Blood cultures drawn at the time of the reaction, while the patient was receiving imipenem and gentamicin, did not grow bacteria. Six donors contributed to the pooled platelet unit. Of the