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West Nile Virus

What is West Nile Virus?

West Nile Virus  (WNV) is an infection in birds, which can occasionally be transmitted to humans via the bites of certain mosquitoes. Normally the infected person will not show signs of the illness. Sometimes the individual may have mild flu-like symptoms and, in a few cases, it can develop into a more severe illness.

The virus is present in the blood of an infected person. If this blood is transfused the patient may go on to develop West Nile Virus infection. We therefore ask that if you have been to an area that has WNV, not to donate for 28 days.

If you have been unwell during your visit abroad (or since your return from abroad) please phone us at 1850 731137 so that we might advise you on your eligibility to donate.

Number of Cases

West Nile Virus Infection is geographically widespread, including North America and some countries in Europe.  In the last few years  the number of countries affected in Europe has increased.  The following countries / areas are now considered to be at risk for WNV; Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Cuba, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Mexico, Romania, Russia, Sardinia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and the USA.

If you have been unwell while abroad or since returning we recommend that you visit your GP for advice.  If you have been diagnosed as having WNV Infection or have symptoms of WNV Infection, we ask that you do not donate for 6 months after complete recovery.  This is a precaution to make sure that the virus is not still in your blood even though you feel well.      

As WNV is transmitted by mosquitoes, the at   risk areas change according to the seasons. Sometimes cases of WNV  Infection are reported in areas where they have not occurred before. As the areas at   risk of WNV change over time and with the seasons, we advise that you ask us for further information if you have been abroad recently by contacting us at 1850 731137.

We would also like to point out that some countries / states at risk of WNV are also tropical such as Cuba, Mexico and Hawaii and you will therefore have to wait 3 months before you can donate blood.  


If you need any further information please ask a member of staff at the blood donor clinic or contact our Donor Services Helpline at 1850 731 137 or send us your query.

National Blood Centre, James's Street, Dublin 8.       Tel: 00 353 1 4322800       Fax: 00 353 1 4322930