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West Nile Virus (WNV)

If you visit a WNV risk area between 1st May and 30th November extra guidelines will apply to you.

You will not be able to donate for at least 28 days from your date of return and this is extended to six months if you have been diagnosed with WNV or have experienced symptoms that could have been due to WNV.

These temporary deferrals are applied with the aim of reducing the risk of transmitting West Nile Virus to patients having blood transfusions.

If we have to temporarily defer you from giving blood please try and donate as soon as possible once your deferral period is over as every blood donation is vital.

What is West Nile Virus?

WNV is an infection that occurs in many countries and is spread by birds and mosquitos. The virus has an incubation period of 3 – 8 days. It causes a wide spectrum of non-specific symptoms in humans including:

  • Fever / chills
  • Headache
  • Weakness / fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Rash
  • Nausea / vomiting / diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite

Symptoms usually resolve within 7-10 days, although fatigue can last for some weeks.

Since 1999, there have been thousands of human cases and many deaths attributable to WNV infection. This is why the Blood Services have introduced rules with regard to donors who have travelled to risk areas during the mosquito season (May to November).

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