Use of cytomegalovirus (CMV) seronegative blood products

Author: Jenny Ryan
Online publication date: August 2017


The National Advisory Committee for blood and blood products in Canada (NAC) is comprised of national transfusion medicine experts and has a mandate to provide advice on blood utilization management and transfusion medicine practice. The NAC includes a CMV subcommittee which has recently evaluated available literature on reduction of Transfusion-Transmitted Cytomegalovirus (TT-CMV) in the post-leukoreduction era. Upon the recommendation of the CMV subcommittee, NAC members (representing all provinces, except Québec) have agreed that CMV-safe (leukoreduced) cellular blood products are equivalent in safety to CMV-seronegative/leukoreduced blood products for transfusion in all patient populations except for intrauterine transfusion. Online publication of this consensus statement and references leading to this decision are posted on the NAC website.

Read more:


Clinical Guide to Transfusion, Chapter 15, CMV Seronegative, Irradiated and Washed Blood Components

Clinical Guide to Transfusion, Chapter 13, Neonatal and Pediatric Transfusion

Recommendation of the National Advisory Committee on blood and blood products 

Current recommendations of the NAC indicate that the provision of CMV-seronegative and leukoreduced blood products is potentially required only in the setting of intrauterine transfusion.

In October 2017, Canadian Blood Services will stop the testing donor blood for anti-CMV antibodies except for a small inventory of blood components tested for the sole purpose of intrauterine transfusion.

Educational materials

These educational materials have been prepared and delivered by Dr. Jeannie Callum. Dr. Callum is Staff Hematologist and Director of Transfusion Medicine and Tissue Banks at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. These materials are free to share, present and reuse. 






Transfusion-Transmitted Cytomegalovirus by Dr. Jeannie Callum (video)

Video Recorded July 27, 2017; Length: 11:04 minutes


This brief video presentation provides an overview of current evidence and use of CMV-seronegative and CMV-safe (leukoreduced) blood and blood products. 










Transfusion-Transmitted Cytomegalovirus (slide presentation with audio only)


Full-length presentation with audio by Dr. Jeannie Callum

Recorded: July 2017; Length: 25:05 minutes 


This 25-minute audio presentation provides an in-depth look at current evidence around use of CMV-seronegative and CMV-safe (leukoreduced) blood and blood products. 


Transfusion-Transmitted Cytomegalovirus (PDF)

Date prepared: July 2017

This  slidedeck of Dr. Callum's full-length presentation is free to download and use for your own presentations at rounds or to clinical team members.