Blood Donor Screening

Key points

  • The blood supply in the United States is safe.
  • Malaria transmitted through blood transfusions is extremely rare.
  • If you have lived in or traveled to an area where malaria spreads, you may have to wait to donate blood.


The U.S. blood supply is kept as safe as possible from infectious diseases, including malaria, through strict Food and Drug Administration (FDA) screening guidelines for accepting or deferring donors who have been in malaria-endemic areas. Because of these control measures, malaria transmitted through blood transfusion is very rare in the U.S. and occurs at a rate of less than one per one million units of blood transfused.

FDA Screening Guidelines

FDA's Recommendations to Reduce the Risk of Transfusion-Transmitted Malaria for blood banks include

  • Most travelers to an area with malaria cannot donate blood for three (3) months after their return (previously one year).
  • Former residents of areas where malaria is present cannot donate blood for three (3) years.
  • People diagnosed with malaria cannot donate blood for three (3) years after treatment, during which time they must have remained free of symptoms of malaria.