In developed countries hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections have occurred predominantly in travellers to countries endemic for HEV. HEV is a virus that is transmitted by blood donations. In Australia Individuals diagnosed with HEV are excluded from donating fresh blood .
The aim of this study is to describe overseas-acquired HEV cases in Australia in order to determine whether infection in travellers pose a risk to Australia blood safety.
Details of all notified HEV cases in Australia from 2002 to 2014 were accessed. 332 cases of HEV were acquired overseas. Travel to India accounted for most of these infections, although the importation rate was highest for Nepal and Bangladesh, are endemic areas for HEV and malaria.
Countries for which donations-related travel restrictions for malaria exist, accounted for 94% of overseas-acquired HEV cases. In Australia blood donations from travelers in these three countries are suspended for at least four months, so the risk of HEV transmission through blood products is minimized.
Blood trasfus 2016 22:1-8
Hepatitis E virus infections in travellers: assessing the threat to the Australian blood supply
Shrestha AC, Flower RL, Seed CR, Keller AJ, Hoad V, Harley R, Leader R, Polkinghorne B, Furlong C, Faddy HM.