Dr. Bloch is originally from South Africa where he completed his medical school (University of Cape Town) and clinical training, which first spurred an interest in infectious disease. Following completion of a combined residency in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology (Tufts Medical Center), post-graduate fellowship in Transfusion Medicine (University of California San Francisco [UCSF]) and Masters in Global Health (UCSF) he continued research at Blood Systems Research Institute, while continuing to teach at UCSF in Laboratory Medicine and Global Health Sciences. He joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Pathology in 2015.
Dr. Bloch has long been interested in babesiosis and other transfusion transmitted infections. Babesiosis is a tick-borne parasitic infection that is endemic to parts of the United States. Although infection is characterized by mild illness (e.g. flu-like symptoms) in immune competent adults, it poses significant risk to those patients at extremes of age, the immunocompromised and the asplenic. These high-risk groups are notably overrepresented among the transfused population accounting for complicated disease and even death in transfusion-transmitted babesiosis (TTB). Despite an increase in both naturally acquired- and TTB, there are currently no effective strategies to prevent TTB, nor any FDA licensed tests for blood product screening. Dr. Bloch has participated in studies to develop both antibody and molecular testis for detection of Babesia in blood donors. The studies have also been used to understand the biology of Babesia infection.
Dr. Bloch is also interested in blood safety in resource-constrained settings. He is an investigator on the Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study (REDS-III) in South Africa where he has helped lead a series of studies on transfusion practice and HIV in the obstetric population. Blood transfusion is a severity outcome measure for a variety of disease states; as such it can be used to highlight deficiencies in care, thereby informing rational intervention. Dr. Bloch also participated in an evaluation of transfusion infectious screening in twelve African countries; the findings highlighted the challenges surrounding extant testing methods and emphasized the need for proficiency testing for donor screening in Africa. He has been actively involved in education and operational outreach related to blood safety in Africa.
Dr. Bloch’s research has been funded through the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through SBIR and R21 grant mechanisms.
The author of 25 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Bloch is a member of the International Society of Blood Transfusion infectious disease working party (co-chair parasite sub-group) and has consulted on policy and development of clinical transfusion guidelines. He continues to be interested in rare and neglected infections and hopes to use blood transfusion as a platform for infectious surveillance so as to guide programmatic support, particularly in low-resource settings.
Bloch EM, Vermeulen M and Murphy E. Blood Transfusion Safety in Africa: A literature review of infectious disease and organizational challenges. Transfus Med Rev 2012;26: 164-80.
Bloch EM, Herwaldt BL, Leiby DA, Shaieb A, Herron RM, Chervenak M, Reed W, Hunter R, Ryals R, Hagar W,
Xayavong MV, Slemenda SB, Pieniazek NJ, Wilkins PP, and Kjemtrup AM. The Third Described Case of Transfusion-Transmitted Babesia duncani. Transfusion 2011;52: 1517-22
Bloch EM, Jackman RP, Lee TH, Busch MP. Transfusion-associated microchimerism: the hybrid within. Transfus Med Rev 2013;27: 10-20.
Bloch EM, Lee TH, Krause PJ, Telford SR 3rd, Montalvo L, Chafets D, Usmani-Brown S, Lepore TJ, Busch MP. Development of a real-time polymerase chain reaction assay for sensitive detection and quantitation of Babesia microti infection. Transfusion 2013;53: 2299-306.
Levin AE, Williamson PC, Erwin JL, Cyrus S, Bloch EM, Shaz BH, Kessler D, Telford III SR, Krause P, Wormser GP, Ni X, Wang H, Krueger NX, Caglioti S, Busch MP. Determination of Babesia microti Seroprevalence in Blood Donor Populations using an Investigational Enzyme Immunoassay. Transfusion 2014;54: 2237-44.
Goodell AJ, Bloch EM, Krause PJ and Custer B. Costs, consequences, and cost-effectiveness of strategies for Babesia microti donor screening of the US blood supply. Transfusion 2014;54: 2245-57.
Bloch EM, Shah A, Khaidarova Z, Laperche S, Lefrere JJ, Hasselt JV, Zacharias P and Murphy EL supported by the Anglophone Africa Transfusion Research Group. A study of laboratory proficiency In transfusion screening for HIV, HCV and HBV in twelve African countries. Vox Sang 2014;107: 333-42
Pruett CR, Vermeulen M, Zacharias P, Ingram C, Tagny CT and Bloch EM. The use of rapid diagnostic tests for transfusion infectious screening in Africa: a literature review. Transfus Med Rev 2015;29: 35-44.
Bloch EM, Crookes RL, Hull J, Fawcus S, Gangaram R, Anthony J, Ingram C, Ngcobo S, Croxford J, Creel DV, Murphy EL, International Component of the REDS-III. The impact of human immunodeficiency virus infection on obstetric hemorrhage and blood transfusion in South Africa. Transfusion 2015;55: 1675-84.
Kane MA, Bloch EM, Bruhn R, Kaidarova Z and Murphy EL. Demographic Determinants of Syphilis Seroprevalence among U.S. Blood Donors, 2011-2012: A Retrospective Data Analysis. accepted January 2015 at BMC Infectious Diseases.
Prugger C, Laperche S, Murphy EL, Bloch EM, Kaidarova Z, Tafflet M, Lefrère JJ, Jouven X. Screening for Transfusion Transmissible Infections using Rapid Diagnostic Tests in Africa: a Potential Hazard to Blood Safety? Accepted Vox Sanguinis July 2015.
Bloch, EM, Simon, MS and Shaz, BH. Emerging Infections and Blood Safety in the 21st Century. Accepted Annals of Internal Medicine February 2016.
Bloch EM, Crookes RL, Hull J, Fawcus S, Gangaram R, Anthony J, Ingram C, Ngcobo S, Croxford J, Creel DV,
Kane MA, Bloch EM, Bruhn R, Kaidarova Z and Murphy EL. Demographic Determinants of Syphilis Seroprevalence among U.S. Blood Donors, 2011-2012: A Retrospective Data Analysis. BMC Infect Dis 2015; 15: 63.
Vo MT, Bruhn R, Kaidarova Z, Custer BS, Murphy EL, and Bloch EM. A Retrospective Analysis of False Positive Infectious Screening Results In Blood Donors. Transfusion 2016; 56(2): 457-65