High Incidence of Chikungunya Virus and Frequency of Viremic Blood Donations during Epidemic, Puerto Rico, USA, 2014
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.