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The public health implications of hepatitis E virus (HEV) in Europe have changed due to increasing numbers of hepatitis E cases and recent reports of chronic, persistent HEV infections associated with progression to cirrhosis in immunosuppressed patients. The main infectious risk for such immunosuppressed patients is exposure to undercooked infected pork products and blood transfusion. We summarised the epidemiology of HEV infections among blood donors and also outlined any strategies to prevent transfusion-transmitted HEV, in 11 European countries. In response to the threat posed by HEV and related public and political concerns, most of the observed countries determined seroprevalence of HEV in donors and presence of HEV RNA in blood donations. France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom (UK) reported cases of transfusion-transmitted HEV. Ireland and the UK have already implemented HEV RNA screening of blood donations; the Netherlands will start in 2017. Germany and France perform screening for HEV RNA in several blood establishments or plasma donations intended for use in high-risk patients respectively and, with Switzerland, are considering implementing selective or universal screening nationwide. In Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain, the blood authorities are evaluating the situation. Denmark decided not to implement the HEV screening of blood donations.


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