Hepatitis E

Testing blood donations for hepatitis E virus

Annually, about 133.000 Dutch residents contract a hepatitis E virus infection. Pork consumption is the main source of infection, but the virus can also be transmitted by blood transfusion. Healthy persons rarely develop disease following infection. However, patients with pre-existing liver disease or a weakened immune system can develop serious illness. This includes many recipients of blood transfusions. The Health Council of the Netherlands therefore advises to continue testing donated blood for hepatitis E virus. This safety measure can be reconsidered if effective steps are taken to reduce the risk of infection via food.