Modelling the risk of transfusion transmission from travelling donors

Tonderai Mapako, Welling Oei, Marinus van Hulst, MEE Kretzschmar, Mart P Janssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: The EUFRAT (European Up-Front Risk Assessment Tool) was developed as an online risk assessment tool ( ) to help decision-makers assess the transmission risk of emerging infectious diseases (EID) through blood transfusion. The aim of this study is to extend the methodology developed in the EUFRAT project to quantify the transfusion transmission (TT) risk from travelling donors.

METHODS: A generic model for estimating the TT risk from a group of travelling donors that visited an EID risk area was developed. In addition, the new model distinguishes projected future transmissions from those that have already occurred. As an illustration the model was applied to the outbreaks of chikungunya in Italy in 2007 and Q fever in the Netherlands in 2007-2009.

RESULTS: Formulas for calculating the travelling donors' TT risk were derived. For the chikungunya outbreak in Italy an early intervention (at the end of week 7 after the start of the outbreak, so after only 19 % of all cases) would have been required to prevent only 41 % of all expected transmissions at that time. For Q fever, in which the transmission of chronic Q fever is considered, even at the end of the third annual outbreak's peak 47 % of all (chronic) Q fever transmissions could still be prevented.

CONCLUSIONS: The updated model allows estimation of the infection transmission risk from travelling donors. In combination with the distinction between past and future transmissions, these estimates provide valuable information to support decisions concerning communication with the public and/or the implementation of safety interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16:143
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases [E]
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Blood transfusion
  • Emerging infectious diseases
  • Transmission risk
  • Travellers' risk


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