Blood is tested
Safety is paramount for Sanquin, for both donors and patients. All of the donated blood is tested for 5 infectious diseases than can be transmitted via blood.
The infectious diseases we test donated blood for are:
- hepatitis B
- hepatitis C
- hepatitis E
In addition to these five diseases, we also test the blood of new donors for HTLV-I/II.
The pathogens that cause these diseases (except for hepatitis E) can remain present in blood for a long time, sometimes for life.
Carrying a virus without knowing it
If you have a virus or a bacteria in your blood, you carry the disease. You may not notice this at all, but your blood is contaminated. If we discover you are carrying one of these six infectious diseases, we will always inform you.
Questions during medical screening
We want to prevent infectious diseases from being transmitted from donor to patient. During each medical screening, we will ask about more or less harmless infections, but also about high-risk situations in which you may have contracted a transmissible infection. If your answers reveal a risk, you will not be able to donate. We also test all donated blood for these diseases.
The same questions during each medical screening because of the window phase
We ask the same questions again before each donation. It may take some time for antibodies made by the body to fight off an infection to become visible. This is due to the so-called window phase.
The window phase is the period of time between contamination with a pathogen and the moment the first antibodies can be measured in the blood. For some diseases, the window phase may be up several months.
That is why the blood bank wants to know if you may have been infected with one of several infectious diseases during the past months.