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Fearon, Margaret

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Contact Dr. Fearon

Mailing Address:

Canadian Blood Services
67 College St.
Toronto, ON, M5G 2M1

Phone Number: 613-313-4598


Medical Director
Medical Microbiology
Canadian Blood Services

Clinical Teacher
University of Toronto

Providing expertise in infectious diseases to Canadian Blood Services

Dr. Fearon participates in Canadian Blood Services’ projects conducting surveillance of bloodborne pathogens and horizon scanning for emerging infectious threats to the blood supply.

Why is it important?

Monitoring trends in known infections, identifying new infectious diseases and developing appropriate policies are critical in maintaining a safe blood system. This is invaluable information for our organization, and for other blood operators in the process of evaluating blood testing and donor eligibility criteria.

Research and Publications:

Within CanadianBlood Services, Dr. Fearon participates in practical projects focused primarily on the impact of emerging infectious diseases on the blood supply. Dr. Fearon’s expertise is particularly valuable to the National Testing Lab, the Donor Testing Labs and the Canadian Blood Services’ Medical Directors. Dr. Fearon also participates in collaborations with external groups including public health, the Canadian Public Health Laboratory Network, the National Microbiology Lab (NML) in Winnipeg, and other blood operators such as Hema Quebec and the American Red Cross. She also led the development of a Health Canada approved protocol for the collection of Ebola convalescent plasma which could be used to treat Ebola victims in Canada

Led by Dr. Fearon, Dr. Mindy Goldman and Dr. Sheila O’Brien, Canadian Blood Services carries out comprehensive surveillance of bloodborne pathogens to monitor changing trends in known infections, identify new infectious diseases and develop policies appropriately. These data are published in an annual report that presents prevalence rates of tested pathogens, estimated residual risks of tested viruses and highlights risk associated with known and emerging pathogens. Canadian Blood Services also researches the prevalence rates of certain viruses in Canadian donors to inform policy development. Dr. Fearon is involved in seroprevalence studies on the emerging pathogens Babesia microti and Hepatitis E. She is currently collaborating with Hema Quebec and the American Red Cross to set up the largest North American HEV prevalence study ever performed in blood donors.


Selected Publications:

  1. O'Brien SF, Delage G, Scalia V, Lindsay R, Bernier F, Dubuc S, Germain M, Pilot G, Yi QL, Fearon MA. Seroprevalence of Babesia microti infection in Canadian blood donors. Transfusion. 2015 Oct 1. doi: 10.1111/trf.13339  PMID: 26426217
  2. Fearon MA, Scalia V, Huang M, Dines I, Ndao M: A Case of vertical transmission of Chagas Disease contracted via blood transfusion in Canada. Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol 2013; 24:32‐4.
  3. O'Brien SF, Goldman M, Scalia V, Yi QL, Fan W, Xi G, Dines IR, Fearon MA: The epidemiology
  4. of Human T‐Cell Lymphotropic Virus Types I and II in Canadian Blood Donors. Transfus Med 2013; 23:358‐66.
  5. O'Brien SF, Scalia V, Goldman M, Fan W, Yi QL, Huang M, Ndao M, Fearon MA: Evaluation of selective screening of donors for antibody to Trypanosoma Cruzi: Seroprevalence of donors who answer no to risk questions. Transfusion 2013; 54:863‐869.
  6. Fearon M, O'Brien SF, Dines IR, Huang M, Ndao M, Lagace-Wiens P, Scalia V. Final results of a Chagas seroprevalence study at Canadian Blood Services. Transfusion 2013; 53:42A.
  7. O'Brien SF, Scalia V, Goldman M, Fan W, Yi QL, Dines IR, Huang M, Ndao M, Fearon MA: Selective testing for Trypanosoma cruzi: the first year after implementation at Canadian Blood Services. Transfusion 2013; 53:1706-13
  8. O’Brien SF, Dines IR, Goldman M, Scalia V, Yi Q, Fan W, Fearon M. Impact of testing the blood supply for Human T Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV) on recipient infections. Transfusion 2013; 53:26A.
  9. Fournier E, Lesley P, Tokessy M, Hannach B, Makowski K, Scalia V, Fearon M. Investigation of a possible case of WNV transfusion transmission: Summer 2012 season. Canadian Society for Transfusion Medicine Website. 2013.


Leadership Roles:


  • AABB Standards Committee
  • ​European Blood Alliance, Emerging Infectious Diseases Committee
  • ​Canadian Public Health Lab Network
  • National West Nile Virus Committee
  • Hema Quebec Safety Advisory Committee
  • Microbial Sampling and Testing, Bioburden Subgroup, Organs and Tissues (CBS)
  • Donor Screening Working Group (CBS)
  • CSTM 2016 Scientific Committee



BSc, Dalhousie University, Halifax N.S.

MD, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

FRCP(C) Medical Microbiology