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Home Topics Infectious Diseases Infections A-Z Bloodborne Infections in Blood and Tissue Donors (BIBD) Horizon Scanning for Emerging Infections

Horizon Scanning for Emerging Infections

The Asian tiger mosquito Aedes Albopictus feeding, courtesy of CDC

Since 2007 the NHSBT/PHE Epidemiology Unit has used a formal horizon scanning system to identify emerging infection reports of relevance to blood donation safety in the UK.


The NHSBT/HPA Epidemiology Unit scans publications for emerging infection news relevant to blood donation. Of particular interest are updates on West Nile virus, malaria, chikungunya, dengue, tick-borne encephalitis, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, pandemic and avian influenza. During 2011, as in 2010, West Nile virus continued to be closely monitored as more outbreaks throughout Europe were reported. An outbreak of locally acquired Plasmodium vivax (malaria) in Greece was monitored for any indication of transmission to tourists.

Scanned sources include:

  • monthly summaries from the Emerging Infections and Zoonoses Section/PHE Scientific Secretariat to the National Expert Panel on New and Emerging Infections (NEPNEI) at PHE Colindale in collaboration with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA)
  • National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) clinical updates
  • outbreak and news alerts from ProMED and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB)
  • peer reviewed literature

Further information is sought from the PHE Emerging Infections and Zoonoses Section or the Travel and Migrant Health Section where necessary.

Every month we collate relevant items into a listing for the Chair of the UK Standing Advisory Committee on Transfusion Transmitted Infection (SACTTI) and the Joint UKBTS/HPA Professional Advisory Committee (JPAC). We also share this listing  report with other NHSBT, Department of Health and PHE colleagues. The Chair of SACTTI receives early warning communications or other reports deemed urgent as they arise.

These monthly listings review the current status of infections and instigate further risk assessment, which may lead to changes to the donor selection guidelines or other blood safety measures where necessary.

See a sample of the report listing:

Emerging Infection Listing Sample (PDF, 20 KB)

To join the distribution list, please contact Claire Reynolds..

What's new

4 Sept 2013: Safe supplies: completing the picture now available