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West Nile: measures relating to the safety of blood transfusions and transplants

The French High Council for Public Health (Haut Conseil de la santé publique) has issued recommendations for adoption in 2019, on preventing the transmission of West Nile virus (WNV) via blood transfusions and transplants. Its aim is to provide an operational strategy containing measures that reconcile the imperatives of health security with the maintenance of self-sufficiency in labile blood components and the availability of transplants.

These recommendations apply to labile blood components on the one hand and to organs, tissues and cells on the other, and are based on alerts issued in France or overseas. For example, from 1st June 2019, prospective blood donors returning from a visit to one of the 20 countries or 11 Regions at risk (cf. list) must delay their donation by 28 days or undergo WNV viral genome diagnostic (DGV) testing.

This list is updated according to the epidemiological situation during the WNV circulation season, up until the end of November. As regards alerts issued within France, WNV viral genome diagnosis by pools of 6 was introduced from 1st July for blood collected from donors in the département of the Alpes-Maritimes. Regarding organs, tissues and cells: the French Biomedicine Agency’s recommendations have been put into practice; these relate to donors residing in or having visited the départements, Regions, or countries affected.

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