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West Nile virus first arrived in North America in the late summer of 1999. Since then it has established itself in Canada and the USA, causing outbreaks every summer since then. The emergence of a new virus prompted a great deal of public health activity and posed a new challenge to the organizations that collect, test, process and supply blood products, in terms of the prevention of transfusion transmission. The rapid development and implementation of effective and innovative donor testing strategies highlights the importance of collaboration, both national and international, and creative thinking as we prepare for the future and the microbial challenges we will certainly face.