[Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]
Volume 25, Number 6—June 2019 / Perspective
West Nile and Usutu Virus Infections and Challenges to Blood Safety in the European Union
Dragoslav Domanović , Celine M. Gossner, Ryanne Lieshout-Krikke, Wolfgang Mayr, Klara Baroti-Toth, Alina Mirella Dobrota, Maria Antonia Escoval, Olaf Henseler, Christof Jungbauer, Giancarlo Liumbruno, Salvador Oyonarte, Constantina Politis, Imad Sandid, Miljana Stojić Vidović, Johanna J. Young, Inês Ushiro-Lumb, and Norbert Nowotny
Author affiliations: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Solna, Sweden (D. Domanović, C.M. Gossner, J.J. Young); European Blood Alliance, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (R. Lieshout-Krikke); Austrian Red Cross, Vienna, Austria (W. Mayr, C. Jungbauer); National Competent Authority for Blood, Budapest, Hungary (K. Baroti-Toth); National Competent Authority for Blood, Bucharest, Romania (A.M. Dobrota); National Competent Authority for Blood, Lisbon, Portugal (M.A. Escoval); Paul Ehrlich Institute, Langen, Germany (O. Henseler); Italian National Blood Centre, National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy (G. Liumbruno); National Competent Authority for Blood, Madrid, Spain (S. Oyonarte); Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO), Athens, Greece (C. Politis); National Competent Authority for Blood, Paris, France (I. Sandid); Croatian Institute for Transfusion Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia (M.S. Vidović); National Health Service Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), London, UK (I. Ushiro-Lumb); University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria (N. Nowotny); Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (N. Nowotny)
West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV) circulate in several European Union (EU) countries. The risk of transfusion-transmitted West Nile virus (TT-WNV) has been recognized, and preventive blood safety measures have been implemented. We summarized the applied interventions in the EU countries and assessed the safety of the blood supply by compiling data on WNV positivity among blood donors and on reported TT-WNV cases. The paucity of reported TT-WNV infections and the screening results suggest that blood safety interventions are effective. However, limited circulation of WNV in the EU and presumed underrecognition or underreporting of TT-WNV cases contribute to the present situation. Because of cross-reactivity between genetically related flaviviruses in the automated nucleic acid test systems, USUV-positive blood donations are found during routine WNV screening. The clinical relevance of USUV infection in humans and the risk of USUV to blood safety are unknown.
Keywords: Usutu virus; WNV; Blood safety; EU.