Help us to find the source of Hepatitis
We are helping Public Health England (PHE) to establish the source of the Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) in the UK by conducting a survey of blood donors both with and without the infection. Donors will be asked about their recent travels, foods that they have eaten and contact with animals. The results of the survey will help us to improve the safety of blood supply in the UK.
What is HEV?
HEV is an important cause of acute hepatitis worldwide. People can be infected through eating raw or undercooked food that has been contaminated with the virus. In an otherwise healthy adult the virus is short-lived and will be cleared from the body in just a few weeks. The majority of those infected do not experience any symptoms. However, HEV can lead to severe disease in immunocompromised individuals or those with underlying medical conditions.
Can donors with HEV still donate?
As a precaution, anyone who has tested positive for HEV will be deferred for six months after which they can give blood again. However, component donors may return earlier to donate if it can be shown that they have cleared their infection and developed antibodies to HEV.
HEV screening was introduced in 2016 and since then we have asked donors who have HEV to complete a survey. Since April, we have been approaching donors without the infection (acting as controls) to complete the survey too. So for every infected donor, we randomly select five uninfected donors to complete the survey too. The survey will finish in December.
Can you help us?
If you are asked by us to complete a survey, please do. We are selecting uninfected donors at random and are issuing the surveys via email and post.
PHE and NHSBT will not share identifiable or potentially identifiable data with partner organisations or other stakeholders. The rights of participants are protected under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Should you wish to contact someone regarding your information, please email the Data Protection Officer Alex Sienkiewicz - Alex.Sienkiewicz@phe.gov.uk
If you have any queries about the survey please contact us via Donorsurvey@phe.gov.uk or by calling 0300 123 23 23.
Find out more information about HEV and blood donations on Gov.uk.
For more information about HEV, please visit gov.uk/government/collections/hepatitis-e