Sep
2003

Transmission of West Nile Virus through blood transfusion in the United States in 2002.

Pealer LN, Marfin AA, Petersen LR, et al.
N Engl J Med 2003;349:1236-1245.
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Important study showing that more than one third of donors show no symptoms although having viremia and transmitting West Nile virus. Therefore, nucleic-based assays for West-Nile Virus are necessary in countries
with West Nile virus epidemiology. Although such a test was quickly introduced in the US, the West Nile Virus is an example for the still remaining risk of transfusion transmissible infections of old and new infectious agents. One consequence besides blood sparing medicine (and especially surgery) must be the consequent use of autologous blood in a rational way.

– Volker Kretschmer