Bloodborne infections in blood, tissue and organ donors (BIBD): guidance, data and analysis

The NHSBT / PHE epidemiology unit, and the epidemiology of infections among blood, tissue and organ donors and recipients.

The joint NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) / Public Health England (PHE) Epidemiology Unit comprises a small team of epidemiologists and public health specialists working with scientific and clinical colleagues across both NHSBT and PHE. The unit was established in 1995 to monitor infections in blood donors and transfusion recipients. Over time the role of the unit has expanded and we are now responsible for monitoring infections in blood, tissue and organ donors, and transfusion recipients. Data from the four UK blood services are collated and analysed by the unit to produce surveillance reports and inform/evaluate policy changes relating to infection risk. The unit collates data on:

  • bloodborne infections among donors
  • the associated risk of transmission through transfusion and transplant

This information contributes to maintaining a safe supply of blood, tissues and organs through:

  • informing donor selection criteria
  • monitoring trends in infections
  • following up any reported post-transfusion infections

The unit manages a series of national surveillance schemes, data from these schemes are used to assess and improve blood, tissue and organ safety:

  • infections in blood donors: monitored through donation testing and the collection of information about identified infected donors
  • infections in tissue donors (including stem cell and cord blood donors): monitored in a similar way to blood donors
  • reported post-transfusion infections: among transfusion recipients in England and Wales which forms part of SHOT Serious Hazards of Transfusion
  • emerging infections: relevant reports from various sources are collated and reported on a monthly basis or as necessary. More information on these reports is available here
  • transfusion Microbiology Epidemiology Review (TMER): looking for evidence of transmission of CJD via blood transfusion

Blood donors are a well characterised low risk group with around 2 million donations screened each year for HBV, HCV, HIV, HTLV, HEV and syphilis. The information collected also contributes to our understanding of the epidemiology of blood borne infections, and there is potential for following up infected donors. This could provide additional information to public health specialists working to reduce infections in the general population, through prioritising population groups for interventions and delivery of care.

Blood borne viruses unit (BBVU)

The Joint NHSBT / PHE epidemiology unit works closely with the Blood borne viruses unit (BBVU) to improve blood safety, funded by the NHSBT.

View more information on the joint NHS Blood and Transplant / Public Health England Epidemiology Unit, along with publications from the unit

Data collection

Research and analysis

Updates to this page

Published 9 May 2014
Last updated 10 November 2014 + show all updates
  1. The Safe supplies: annual review has been added.

  2. First published.