Dr. Vernon J. Lee of Tan Tock Seng Hospital and team explained that there is little evidence of its efficacy; however this prophylactic approach is often employed in Singapore and in Taiwan in patients with acute dengue infection.

The researchers gathered further information by investigating 256 patients with uncomplicated dengue infection who developed thrombocytopenia without prior bleeding. Of this group, 188 were given platelet transfusions.

However, the researchers found that both groups had similar rates of subsequent bleeding, platelet increment, and platelet recovery.

This study, Dr. Lee told Reuters Health, demonstrated that prophylactic platelet transfusion in the absence of bleeding did not significantly prevent subsequent bleeding.

The clinical implication, he added, is that doctors can refrain from unnecessary platelet transfusions in otherwise well dengue patients with low platelet counts. This will save important blood product resources, and reduce patient exposure to the risks of transfusion.