- Zika virus is a mosquito-borne
virus that originated in Uganda in 1947
- The spread of the Zika virus in America will continue to rise due to
the prevalence of the Aedes mosquito
- It is associated with
Microcephaly and Guillain Barre disease
studies have shown that there could be a possible transmission through organ
- Transplant recipients and transplant
professionals need to be aware of the risks of Zika virus spread
emerged as one of the major diseases that affects unborn children. It is
transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which is present in
most parts of the world. This mosquito is active during the day and spreads
more severe forms of flu-like Chikungunya
results in microcephaly (abnormal smallness of the head), Guillain-Barre and blindness among fetuses, which has been a major cause of
worry. The known modes of transmission apart from mosquito-borne spread is through blood donation and sexual transmission.
However, it is currently believed that organ
can also increase the
risk of Zika.
‘Precautions taken by prospective donors during travel to Zika prone areas will limit risk of Zika virus spread during organ donation.’
Zika Symptoms and Severity
Transplantation and Zika Virus Risk
fever results in mild flu-like symptoms and
is not usually fatal
- 1 in 5 infected people displays symptoms
- Asymptomatic people continue to be
- The incubation period lasts between 3 to 10 days
virus remains in the blood for a maximum of 10 days
Theoretically, Zika virus can spread through organ transplantation as there is
confirmed transmission through blood. Certain precautions should be carried out
if a person acting as a donor travels to a Zika-epidemic area.
1) Potential Donor has Visited Zika-Epidemic Area but Shows No Symptoms
Blood tests to
confirm the presence of the virus should be carried out, especially if the
transplantation surgery is planned within 28 days of the travel. There should
be recorded statements of symptoms noticed and the places visited, along with
any history of mosquito bites during travel. Organ donation may be carried out
after detailed analysis.
2) Potential Donor Tests Positive for Zika Virus and are Asymptomatic
from an individual who is asymptomatic, but tests
positive for the presence of Zika virus in the blood should be delayed by 6
months, at the least.
3) Potential Donor Infected with Zika Virus and Showing Symptoms
from an infected and symptomatic donor should be avoided unless exceptional
cases demand it.
: An individual who wishes to donate blood
after returning from a Zika prone area can do so after 28 days.
Guidelines for Organ Transplant Personnel
The effect of
Zika virus infection among immunocompromised patients is unknown, therefore, being cautious would be ideal. The following considerations should
be borne in mind when selecting donors for transplantation
Precautions for Prospective Donors
- Check the history
of travel to Zika prone areas.
- Organ donors for pregnant
women or women of childbearing age should be screened well for the presence of
Zika as the disease is particularly harmful to unborn
- Weigh the positives and negatives of organ
transplantation from Zika infected person.
If travel to Zika prone areas
cannot be avoided by individuals before organ donation, certain travel
precautions need to be followed diligently.
- Wear clothes that cover the body
entirely, like full-length pants and full-sleeve shirts.
- Spray mosquito repellents on
exposed areas of the skin, clothes and footwear.
mosquito nets while sleeping, especially for children, pregnant mothers and
prospective organ donors.
- A good quality hotel should be
selected for accommodation where sincere efforts are taken to keep mosquitoes
The spread of
Zika virus has resulted in a global scare, but following guidelines laid down will aid in controlling the
1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/244219132. https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/news/guidance-for-organ-donation-and-transplantation-professionals-regarding-the-zika-virus/3. http://organdonationalliance.org/education-corner-zika-virus-donation-transplantation/
4. http://www.odt.nhs.uk/pdf/Zika_virus_and_Transplantation_of_Solid_Organs_from_Deceased_Donors.pdf5. http://www.cst-transplant.ca/_Library/_documents/2016_0202_CST_Info_Sheet_Zika.pdf?platform=hootsuite6. http://www.cdc.gov/zika/pdfs/fs-mosquito-bite-prevention-travelers.pdf7. http://www.cntrp.ca/#!Important-information-on-the-Zika-Virus-and-the-risks-for-donation-and-transplantation-from-the-CST/cbmd/56b2247b0cf2dc1600e0fe8b