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Test for hepatitis E

Sanquin tests donors (of blood, platelets and quarantine plasma) for the hepatitis E virus.

Why is Sanquin testing for the hepatitis E virus?

There has been an increase in hepatitis E virus type 3 infections in the Netherlands recently. This virus can be transmitted through blood transfusions.

Blood transfusions are given to sick patients. In particular, patients with a weakened immune system because of their illness or treatment can become seriously ill from hepatitis E virus infection. It has therefore been decided to test the blood of donors for the virus.

What is hepatitis E?

Hepatitis E is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis E virus. The type 3 virus prevalent in the Netherlands typically does not cause any symptoms in healthy people. Infected persons often do not notice that they have been infected. It is not entirely clear how this virus is contracted. Eating contaminated, undercooked food appears to play a role. The type 3 hepatitis E virus can be found in pork but also in game.

Are you a donor?

If we discover the hepatitis E virus in your donation, we will inform you by letter. For you as a healthy donor this has no health consequences. Your body produces antibodies that will eliminate the virus. However, your donation cannot be used for a patient. Because it can take several weeks before the virus has been entirely eliminated, you will not be able to donate blood for three months. After that you will be able to donate as usual.

If you have any questions, please discuss these with the donor doctor at your donor centre or call our Donor information line 0800-5115 (free).