Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 and 2 (HTLV-1/2) screening is not mandatory in Spanish blood banks. In Catalonia, selective screening was introduced in 2008, followed by universal screening in 2011. We present herein a 10-year experience of HTLV testing in blood donors. HTLV-1/2 selective screening was performed using Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics HTLV-I/HTLV-II Ab-Capture ELISA between February 2008 and May 2009, then Abbott Prism HTLV-I/ HTLV-II assay until December 2010. Abbott Architect rHTLV-I/II assay was then used for HTLV-1/2 universal screening in pooled samples. INNO-LIA HTLV I/II Score (Fujirebio) and in-house HTLV-1/2 proviral DNA real-time PCR were used in reactive samples. Follow-up was offered to confirm HTLV-1/2 donors in Vall d'Hebron Hospital. Between 2008 and 2017, 51 blood donors were confirmed HTLV positive (46 HTLV-1, 4 HTLV-2 and 1 HTLV) out of 2,114,891 blood donations (1 in 41,468). Sixty-nine percent were female, median age was 40 years and most were born in Latin America (69%), followed by Europe (25%), Africa (4%) and Asia (2%). Screening of relatives and partners identified 12 additional HTLV-1 cases. Lookback studies did not show any HTLV-1/2 transmission. HTLV infections found in blood donors mirror epidemiological changes in the population of Spain. Consequently, HTLV should be considered a potential risk for recipients and calls for the design of optimal strategies to ensure transfusion safety.
Keywords: HTLV-1/2; Spain; blood donors; leukoreduction; screening; transfusion.