Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

Regulatory alert 001/2019 - West Nile Virus

Issued 20 August 2019 – updated 13 September 2019

Notice for 

•    Designated Individuals in the Human Application sector 
•    Licence contacts in the Organ Donation and Transplantation sector 


This alert is being issued by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) and includes information about recent cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) in individuals in France, Austria and Romania.

Please circulate this information to staff within your establishment undertaking activities which may be affected by this notice.


On 5 August 2019, the Agence Nationale de Securité du Médicament (ANSM) in France created an alert on the EU Rapid Alert on Substances of Human Origin (RATC) platform confirming a case of neuro-invasive West-Nile virus infection in a person residing in Frejus (Var department) in southern France. The patient did not report any recent travel outside the Var department. Therefore, this case is considered autochthonous and most likely acquired in the city of Frejus.

On 20 August 2019, Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety - Federal Office for Safety in Healthcare created an alert on the same platform advising of the first confirmed WNV case in the region of Lower Austria.

Update: On 13 September 2019, the Ministry of Health – Directorate of Public Health Control (Romania) created an alert on the RATC platform advising of eight confirmed cases of West Nile meningitis / encephalitis during the period 30 July 2019 – 1 September 2019. The confirmed cases are from Bucuresti (1), Constanta (3), Tulcea (2), Olt (1), and Buzau (1).

Action taken by the HTA

The HTA has issued this alert to all UK establishments that handle human tissues and cells for human application or are involved in solid organ transplantation to raise awareness of potential WNV transmission from donors to recipients.

Actions for establishments

This alert is to ensure that all establishments are aware of the recent reports of WNV and can review their donor selection and evaluation procedures accordingly.

Up-to-date information on cases of WNV in Europe can be found here.

Last updated on: 3 Oct 2019