The Food and Drug Administration gave the go-ahead for a diagnostic test, to check for the presence of a life-threatening parasitic infection, widespread in Latin America and the United States' blood banks that could pose a huge risk to patients.
Many reputed blood banks have seconded this move, and have agreed to induct the test soon, to check for the disease, technically termed as the Chagas disease. Incidentally, this disease is spread by the bite of an insect, called the kissing bug that is home to the parasite, which transmits the Chagas disease. This disease can also be passed on through organ donation, blood transfusion or from a mother to her fetus.
Nearly 100,000 people residing in the United States are estimated to be infected with Chagas disease. The test is aimed to protect the blood supply, while also enabling estimation about the magnitude of penetration of the disease in the United States.
"The 100,000 figure is a rough estimate, but we really don't know," said Dr. James H. Maguire, ex-chief of the parasitic diseases branch at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Most people don't know they're infected."