Transfusion medicine
Transfusion transmitted disease
West Nile virus and transfusions

Topic Completed: 1 November 2011

Minor changes: 8 April 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

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Huy Phu Pham, M.D., M.P.H.
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Table of Contents
Definition / general
Cite this page: Pham HP West Nile virus and transfusions. website. Accessed May 30th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • West Nile virus is a flavivirus primarily transmitted through mosquitoes, with birds as immediate hosts (Wikipedia: West Nile fever [Accessed 31 October 2017])
  • Entered North America in 1999; still epidemic in North America due to mosquito and bird vectors
  • First appeared in New York in 1999 and rapidly expanded its geographical area within 3 years
  • Symptoms: headache, new rash, generalized weakness (Transfusion 2006;46:272)
  • May cause meningoencephalitis (Am J Clin Pathol 2003;119:749)
  • Transfusion transmission resulted in 23 infections in 2002 during an outbreak
  • Detected by nucleic acid based testing although virus adheres to human red blood cells in whole blood (Clin Infect Dis 2007;45:181)
  • NAT testing was implemented in 2003
  • Use of only minipool NAT testing resulted in 7 transfusion transmission cases in 2003 - 2004

Cost effectiveness models:
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