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Keywords:

  • blood;
  • blood donors;
  • Procleix WNV assay;
  • transfusion;
  • West Nile virus

Background and Objectives  West Nile virus (WNV) can be transmitted by transfusion through infected blood components. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of WNV infection among Dutch blood donors to assess whether WNV is a possible threat for the Dutch blood supply.

Materials and Methods  Plasma samples from 61 992 blood donations were pooled in 7749 test pools of eight donations using a Tecan robot. These samples were collected between April and October 2004. The pools were tested for the presence of WNV RNA by using the Procleix WNV assay.

Results  No WNV RNA-positive pools were detected. Based on Poisson distribution statistics, extrapolation of our data to all the Dutch donations in 2004 revealed that between 0 and 55 cases of WNV infection could be expected.

Conclusions  No evidence of the presence of WNV RNA in Dutch blood donor samples from 2004 was found. However, surveillance of this emerging infection is of importance to safeguard the blood supply in the future because the transmission cycle of WNV is complex and hard to predict.