Hepatitis E - Irish Blood Transfusion Service

Hepatitis E

The IBTS introduced a new test on 4 January 2016 - a test for Hepatitis E. Hepatitis

E infection is a disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV), a virus

which can infect both animals and humans. This virus usually does not cause any

illness in healthy blood donors and in fact it usually clears rapidly from their blood.

However, in people whose immune system is suppressed - for example following

transplantation – the virus can persist and lead to chronic inflammation of the liver.

The virus is usually acquired through eating infected undercooked pork or

processed pork products, or shellfish.

The virus may also be transmitted by blood transfusions and as people who receive

blood transfusions can often have a suppressed immune system, the IBTS has

decided to test for this virus in the interests of these patients. If your blood tests

positive for this virus, your donation will be discarded. We will contact

you and arrange for further blood tests.

Hepatitis E is a notifiable disease. This means that we are legally bound to inform

the Public Health Service if your blood tests positive for this virus. If this happens we

are obliged to forward your personal details including your name and address and

the results of your blood tests.

The IBTS will repeat blood tests on donors who are positive until the virus is cleared

from their blood. Once it is confirmed that the virus has been cleared, the donors will

be returned to the active donor panel approximately six months after they first tested

positive.

If you would like further information please ask a member of staff on clinic or

phone 1800 60 20 20.