Position paper


Assessing the risk of transfusion-transmitted variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: a European perspective


Key words: transfusion-transmission, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, risk


Several countries have recently reassessed the international risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) transmission through transfusion of blood and blood components (red blood cells, platelets and plasma) and relaxed donor deferrals based on geographic and transfusion exposure in countries formerly considered to be high risk, such as the UK. In this regard, the European Blood Alliance organised a consensus meeting of experts and involved professionals to discuss current knowledge, epidemiological data, prevention and various methods for assessing the risk of transfusion-transmitted vCJD, as well as to develop an appropriate position on possible approaches to address these challenges in Europe. Participants reached a consensus that the current risk of transfusion-transmitted vCJD associated with blood donors who either travelled to or received transfusions in the UK during the vCJD outbreak is minimal. In addressing such risks, it would be pragmatic that assessments and guidelines are developed by European expert bodies, rather than individual assessments by Member States. Regardless of the approach used, European or national, a qualitative risk assessment based on a review and analysis of available data, considering all the uncertainties and experiences of other countries, would provide crucial information to reassess blood donation strategies regarding the transfusion-associated vCJD risk.



Dragoslav Domanovic - European Blood Alliance, Brussels, Belgium https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9696-8953

Antoine Lewin - Héma-Québec, Medical Affairs and Innovation, Montreal, Canada https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1748-4198

Peter O'Leary - European Blood Alliance, Brussels, Belgium

Tiziana Janner-Jametti - Swiss Transfusion SRC, Bern, Switzerland

Soraya Amar El Dusouqui - Swiss Transfusion SRC, Bern, Switzerland https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3556-5522

Ana Sousa - Portuguese Institute of Blood and Transplantation, Lisbon, Portugal

Hans Zaaijer - Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, Amsterdam, Netherlands https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0773-7315

Barnaby Roberts - Department for Health and Social Care, London, United Kingdom https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5810-533X

Daisy Bougard - Etablissement Français du Sang, Montpellier, France https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8779-9251

Daniele Prati - Department of Transfusion Medicine and Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy. Italian National Blood Centre, National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2281-7498

Jonas Nordberg - Clinical immunology and transfusion medicine, Lund, Sweden

Christian Erikstrup - Department of Clinical Immunology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark; Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6551-6647

Mart Janssen - Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, Amsterdam, Netherlands https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1682-7817

Ryanne Lieshout-Krikke - Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Knut Gubbe - German Red Cross Blood Donor Service North-East gGmbH Institute of Transfusion Medicine Plauen, Plauen, Germany

Niamh O'Flaherty - Irish Blood Transfusion Service, Dublin, Ireland

Genevieve Mathy - Service du Sang, Croix-Rouge de Belgique, Suarlée, Belgium

Andrée-Marie Chantillon - Service Francophone du Sang, Croix-Rouge de Belgique, Suarlée, Belgium

Riikka Lehtisalo - Finnish Red Cross Blood Service, Helsinki, Finland

Øfsteng Henning Sørensen - Department of immunology and transfusion medicine, St. Olavs hospital, Trondheim, Norway

Pierre Tiberghien - Europen Blood Alliance, Brussels, Belgium; Etablissement Français du Sang, La Plaine - St Denis, France https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9310-8322

Stephen Thomas - Joint Professional Advisory Committee of the UK Blood Transfusion and Tissue Transplantation Services (JPAC), London, United Kingdom https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7761-7138

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