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Hematol Transfus Cell Ther. 2018 Jul-Sep;40(3):250-254. doi: 10.1016/j.htct.2018.01.011. Epub 2018 Apr 23.

Risk of Zika virus transmission by blood donations in Brazil.

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Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp), Campinas, SP, Brazil.
Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto da Universidade de São Paulo (FMRP USP), Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.



Zika, a disease caused by Zika virus infections, has recently emerged and caused outbreaks in many parts of the world. The clinical manifestations of Zika are usually mild, mostly presenting as an exanthematic febrile disease, but on some occasions, it might be associated with microcephaly after intrauterine infection, and Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Zika virus is primarily transmitted by mosquito bites, but other means of transmission have been described, and potential risk for blood transmission has been reported in French Polynesia and Brazil.


To investigate the risk of Zika virus infection after a blood transfusion in an area of Brazil where a possible transmission by a platelet concentrate has been described. Using a mini-pool format, 1857 blood donations were evaluated by real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction designed to detect Zika virus RNA.


After testing samples individually from positive mini-pools, the prevalence of Zika virus RNA was only 0.16%, a result probably associated to the low circulation of this virus in the study area. In addition, it was evident that the implementation of post-surveillance programs is important to detect Zika virus infections in blood donors, as the post-donation surveillance program detected two blood donors with the disease in this study.


This study shows that the risk for Zika virus transmission by blood transfusion is real, even in regions with a low circulation of the disease, but the combination of the detection of Zika virus RNA by polymerase chain reaction and post-donation surveillance might reduce the risk of transmission by blood transfusions.


Blood transfusion; Transfusion risk; ZIKV; Zika

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