Photo/IllutrationMicrograph of coliform bacteria (Provided by Hirosaki University)

A blood transfusion product contaminated with bacteria likely caused the death of a girl suffering from leukemia, it has been revealed.

The girl, under the age of 10, died about one month after receiving a transfusion. Coliform bacteria in her body matched that in the blood product, the Japanese Red Cross Society announced Nov. 29 at a meeting of a panel of experts of the health ministry.

The Red Cross checks whether donors have a fever or are in poor physical shape before they give blood. But people giving blood do not always show symptoms of a coliform bacteria infection, making it difficult to guarantee complete safety, according to the organization.

This is the first fatal case in Japan caused by coliform bacteria in a blood transfusion product, although there was a case in 2015 and the patient survived.

The girl had received a bone-marrow transplant as part of her treatment to combat the recurrence of acute myelocytic leukemia and received the blood platelet transfusion in August.

The procedure was stopped 30 minutes later after 20 milliliters of the blood product had been transfused when the girl vomited and suffered diarrhea. Then she endured respiratory failure and a lung hemorrhage. She died about a month later from multiple organ failure caused by septic shock, according to the ministry.

Later, a type of coliform bacteria found in the girl matched one detected in the remaining blood product.

The Japanese Red Cross Society ensured that no other blood products from the same donor would be used. The girl's transfusion was the only instance of blood from the donor being used.