Dr. Sheila O'Brien

Estimating risk of a rare tick-borne infection by blood transfusion

Associate Director, Epidemiology & Surveillance
Canadian Blood Services

Adjunct Professor, School of Epidemiology & Public Health
University of Ottawa

Date: Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Time: 1:00-2:00 PM
Venue: Online Event

Babesia microti is a protozoan parasite that is found in the northeastern United States. It’s life cycle at different stages involves infection of the white tailed deer and the white footed mouse, and it is transmitted by the bite of the black legged tick. While many people develp flu-like symptoms then clear the infection, or no symptoms at all, some people get very sick and can even die. Babesia microti can also be transmitted by blood transfusion from an infected blood donor and can make patients very sick. The habitat of the black legged tick has been slowly moving northward from the United States and some ticks have been found to be infected with Babesia microti, mostly in southern Manitoba and parts of Ontario.

This presentation will describe mathematical modelling that was carried out to estimate the risk of a blood recipient being infected with Babesai microti. The risk estimate is an important part of the decision making process for blood safety policy.

Speaker Biography
I have been head of the Epidemiology & Surveillance Depatment at Canadian Blood Services (CBS) for twenty years. My areas of interest include surveillance of infectious disease in blood donors, statistics and mathematical modelling, particularly modelling risk to the safety of the blood supply from new and emerging pathogens. I have published over 100 peer reviewed papers. I serve on a number of CBS, Canadian and international committees, notably member of and former chair of the Donor History Task Force of the AABB in the USA, and vice-Chair of the Transfusion Transmitted Infectious Diseases Working Party of the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT).

Contact Person:
Prof. Floris Goerlandt
email: floris.goerlandt@dal.ca

General Enquiry:
Ms. Tara Parker
Tel: 902.494.3281
email: ieng@dal.ca