Hepatitis E virus infections in travellers: assessing the threat to the Australian blood supply

Shrestha, Ashish C., Flower, Robert L. P., Seed, Clive R., Keller, Anthony J., Hoad, Veronica, Harley, Robert, Leader, Robyn, Polkinghorne, Ben, Furlong, Catriona and Faddy, Helen M. (2017) Hepatitis E virus infections in travellers: assessing the threat to the Australian blood supply. Blood Transfusion, 15 3: 191-198. doi:10.2450/2016.0064-16


Author Shrestha, Ashish C.
Flower, Robert L. P.
Seed, Clive R.
Keller, Anthony J.
Hoad, Veronica
Harley, Robert
Leader, Robyn
Polkinghorne, Ben
Furlong, Catriona
Faddy, Helen M.
Title Hepatitis E virus infections in travellers: assessing the threat to the Australian blood supply
Journal name Blood Transfusion   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1723-2007
2385-2070
Publication date 2017-01-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.2450/2016.0064-16
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 15
Issue 3
Start page 191
End page 198
Total pages 8
Place of publication Milan, Italy
Publisher SIMTI Servizi srl
Language eng
Subject 2723 Immunology and Allergy
2720 Hematology
Abstract Background. In many developed countries hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections have occurred predominantly in travellers to countries endemic for HEV. HEV is a potential threat to blood safety as the virus is transfusion-Transmissible. To minimise this risk in Australia, individuals diagnosed with HEV are deferred. Malarial deferrals, when donors are restricted from donating fresh blood components following travel to an area in which malaria is endemic, probably also decrease the HEV risk, by deferring donors who travel to many countries also endemic for HEV. The aim of this study is to describe overseas-Acquired HEV cases in Australia, in order to determine whether infection in travellers poses a risk to Australian blood safety. Materials and methods. Details of all notified HEV cases in Australia from 2002 to 2014 were accessed, and importation rates estimated. Countries in which HEV was acquired were compared to those for which donations are restricted following travel because of a malaria risk. Results. Three hundred and thirty-Two cases of HEV were acquired overseas. Travel to India accounted for most of these infections, although the importation rate was highest for Nepal and Bangladesh. Countries for which donations are restricted following travel due to malaria risk accounted for 94% of overseas-Acquired HEV cases. Discussion. The vast majority of overseas-Acquired HEV infections were in travellers returning from South Asian countries, which are subject to donation-related travel restrictions for malaria. This minimises the risk HEV poses to the Australian blood supply.
Formatted abstract
Background. In many developed countries hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections have occurred predominantly in travellers to countries endemic for HEV. HEV is a potential threat to blood safety as the virus is transfusion-transmissible. To minimise this risk in Australia, individuals diagnosed with HEV are deferred. Malarial deferrals, when donors are restricted from donating fresh blood components following travel to an area in which malaria is endemic, probably also decrease the HEV risk, by deferring donors who travel to many countries also endemic for HEV. The aim of this study is to describe overseas-acquired HEV cases in Australia, in order to determine whether infection in travellers poses a risk to Australian blood safety.
Materials and methods. Details of all notified HEV cases in Australia from 2002 to 2014 were accessed, and importation rates estimated. Countries in which HEV was acquired were compared to those for which donations are restricted following travel because of a malaria risk.
Results. Three hundred and thirty-two cases of HEV were acquired overseas. Travel to India accounted for most of these infections, although the importation rate was highest for Nepal and Bangladesh. Countries for which donations are restricted following travel due to malaria risk accounted for 94% of overseas-acquired HEV cases.
Discussion. The vast majority of overseas-acquired HEV infections were in travellers returning from South Asian countries, which are subject to donation-related travel restrictions for malaria. This minimises the risk HEV poses to the Australian blood supply.
Keyword Risk
Safety
Transfusion
Travel
Hepatitis
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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