Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the major cause of acute viral hepatitis in several countries in Europe. HEV is acquired mainly by consumption of contaminated pork but can also be transmitted through blood transfusion. HEV infection is usually self-limited but can become persistent in immunocompromised persons. During the first 30 months of HEV RNA universal screening of blood donations in Catalonia, Spain, we identified 151 HEV RNA-positive donations (1/4,341 blood donations). Most infected donors reported consumption of pates and sausages, and 58% were negative for HEV IgM and IgG. All HEV isolates belonged to genotype 3. All infected donors spontaneously resolved the infection, and no neurologic symptoms and reinfections were observed after 1 year of follow-up. Since the implementation of HEV RNA universal screening, no new cases of transfusion-transmitted HEV infection were reported. Our data indicate HEV screening of blood donations provides safer blood for all recipients, especially for immunosuppressed persons.
Emerg Infect Dis . 2022 Jan;28(1):157-165. doi: 10.3201/eid2801.211466
Effect of Hepatitis E Virus RNA Universal Blood Donor Screening, Catalonia, Spain, 2017‒2020
Marta Bes , Maria I. Costafreda, Mar Riveiro-Barciela, Maria Piron, Angie Rico, Josep Quer, Lluis Puig, and Silvia Sauleda