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Temporary restrictions to give blood for travellers also in Europe

8/22/2019 8:00

The West Nile Virus (WNV) season causes temporary restrictions for blood donation 1.7.-30.11.2019 also in the EU region. Please note that Cyprus has been added to the list on 22nd of August.

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 visiting a WNV epidemic region (for more than 20 hours) blood donation is temporarily restricted for 28 days, because WNV can spread through blood transfusion from a person without symptoms to the recipient.

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. Also the WNV season in the EU region causes temporary restrictions for blood donation in the summer and autumn after visiting risk areas shown in the map.

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 1.7. -30.11.2019 in the following risk areas in the EU-region:

- Bulgaria
- Cyprus (added 22.8.2019)

- Italy, also Sicily and Sardinia (Note! except Rome and Vatican)
- Austria, eastern part - east of the line Linz-Graz, including Vienna
- France: eastern part of the Riviera from Saint-Tropez (Alpes-Maritimes) - and Corsica
- Greece mainland (incl. Peloponnese and Evia)
- Croatia
- Romania
- Slovenia
- Hungary
- Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Kosovo*, Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* (*countries outside EU with 28 day deferral all year)

Note! There is no restriction for donating blood after visiting the Greek islands.

If you get ill with a fever during or soon after the stay in a WNV risk area, blood donation is possible earliest when it has been 28 days since the return and recovery.

More information: the Blood Service personnel or the free donor info phone 0800 0 5801