Chikungunya Virus (CHIKV)

This virus is found primarily in Africa and Asia, but is becoming a bigger issue in the Caribbean and the U.S. state of Florida. Chikungunya (say “chik-en-GUN-ye”) virus was discovered in 1953, and like malaria and dengue and Zika viruses, is transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes species mosquitoes. Chikungunya fever (or just “chikungunya”) is generally less serious than other mosquito-transmitted illnesses, however, as fatality is quite uncommon and mostly limited to the very old and very young. Blood bankers are well aware of this virus, but specific regulations are not deemed necessary in the U.S. at this time. There is no screening question or screening laboratory test for CHIKV, and it is not clear that the virus can even be transmitted through transfusion (though we think it probably can be). Donors known to be infected, however, would be deferred from donation for at least four weeks after their symptoms resolve (this is a recommendation from AABB in a March 1, 2016 Association Bulletin).

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