Blood banks take precaution from Zika

Nina DeSarro tells us how the Zika Virus in Florida may be affecting folks back at home in West Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Giving blood might be a little bit more challenging if you've recently traveled to Florida or have plans to for the holiday weekend.

Florida health workers have found the Zika virus in three trapped mosquitoes in Miami Beach. That's the first time this has happened in the continental U.S.

Following FDA advice, Michigan Blood is asking donors who have been to Florida or other infected areas within the last 6 weeks, to wait a month before giving blood. 

If you notice any symptoms of the virus within two weeks of returning home, you're asked to wait an additional four weeks until those symptoms have been resolved.

Those symptoms can include, fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, headaches and conjunctivitis.

Florida is just the most recent location added to the list. That deferral is also in effect for anyone who has traveled to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

"A lot of people are worried about it, but the important thing to remember is that Michigan Blood as well as all the other blood centers are regulated by the FDA," said Michigan Blood Community Outreach Coordinator Amy Rotter.

"The FDA has put in numerous safety check points from every blood donor before that blood reached the hospital to go to a patient in need. The FDA did issue some revised guidelines as far as testing for the Zika virus. We are working with our testing partners to meet the 12-week implementation window for the new Zika virus test. Right now, Michigan is not at risk for local Zika transmission, so that is good,"

Under FDA advisement, the Red Cross is also issuing similar guidelines for blood donors and are not collecting blood in South Florida.

The CDC estimates there are around 507 travel associated cases in Florida and 35 locally acquired cases.

(© 2016 WZZM)


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