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Temporary restrictions to give blood for travellers during the West Nile Virus season in Europe

9/28/2017 9:20

The WNV season causes temporary restrictions for blood donation in the summer and autumn also in the EU region. From 28.9. onwards new risk area Rome is added.


West Nile Virus (WNV) has caused seasonal outbreaks among people in North America for over a decade. In the 2010s WNV epidemics have occurred also in parts of Southern and Eastern Europa and in some other countries in the Mediterranean region.

After travel/visits outside the EU and EFTA member states there is a general 28 day temporary deferral period for donating blood due to varying infectious risks and epidemics. This restriction is valid all year round and it covers most of the WNV epidemic areas. The WNV season in the EU region causes temporary restrictions for blood donation in the summer and autumn after visiting risk areas.

After visiting a WNV epidemic region blood donation is temporarily restricted for 28 days, because WNV can spread through blood transfusion from a person without symptoms to the recipient.

Many infected people experience no symptoms, while some may have fever, nausea and headache. Approximately one per cent of those infected may develop a severe inflammation of the brain.


Changes in the blood donation restrictions from 28.9.2017 onwards:

Rome is added to the previous risk areas within the EU-region.


According to the regional WNV epidemic situation in recent years, the 28 day temporary deferral period for blood donation is applied also after a stay during 7.9. -30.11.2017 in the following risk areas in the EU-region:

- Austria
- Bulgaria
- Croatia
- France (Var department in Southern France, see map under)
- Greece mainland (with Peloponnese and Evia)
- Hungary
- Italy (except Sicily)
- Romania
- Slovenia
- Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Kosovo*, Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* (*countries outside EU with 28 day deferral all year)

Picture: Var region between Nice and Marseille


For more information, please contact the Blood Service staff or the free information number for blood donors at 0 800 0 5801