Expert consultation meeting on West Nile virus maps
The European public health and blood authorities responded to the threat posed by West Nile virus to blood safety of blood and blood components by adopting preventive measures which are defined in the EU blood legislation, professional guides of the Council of Europe and the EU WNV blood transfusion preparedness plan. The measures include the deferral of blood donors that have visited or residing in a NUTS 3 area considered to be affected (i.e. with at least one confirmed case).
In order to support the Member States in applying the legislation, ECDC publishes weekly WNF maps highlighting areas with humans and equine cases. Eighty percent of WNV infections in humans are asymptomatic, and therefore it cannot be excluded that asymptomatic donors may donate infectious blood after visiting or residing in an area not (yet) considered affected.
The purpose of the meeting was to bring together experts from the EU Member States that assess and manage the risks for blood safety posed by WNV infection and to
- evaluate the use of ECDCs WNV maps in supporting the implementation of EU legislation;
- assess the usefulness of the combined humans and equines data maps;
- define avenues to improve the usefulness of the maps.
The expected outcome of the meeting was an expert opinion about the frequency of WNV positive blood donations/donors in some EU Member States and the use of the maps.