Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) caused large epidemics throughout the Caribbean in 2014. We conducted nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) for CHIKV RNA (n = 29,695) and serologic testing for IgG against CHIKV (n = 1,232) in archived blood donor samples collected during and after an epidemic in Puerto Rico in 2014. NAAT yields peaked in October with 2.1% of donations positive for CHIKV RNA. A total of 14% of NAAT-reactive donations posed a high risk for virus transmission by transfusion because of high virus RNA copy numbers (10 (4) -10 (9) RNA copies/mL) and a lack of specific IgM and IgG responses. Testing of minipools of 16 donations would not have detected 62.5% of RNA-positive donations detectable by individual donor testing, including individual donations without IgM and IgG. Serosurveys before and after the epidemic demonstrated that nearly 25% of blood donors in Puerto Rico acquired CHIKV infections and seroconverted during the epidemic.
Keywords: Puerto Rico; blood donors; chikungunya virus; epidemic; minipools; nucleic acid amplification test; seroprevalence; viremia; viruses.