DAYTON, Ohio – Community Blood Center is beginning new restrictions on blood donations in response to concerns about transmission of the Zika virus. Beginning Monday, Feb. 15 any potential donor who has traveled to Zika endemic areas will be deferred from donating for 28 days after leaving those areas.
Zika endemic areas include the Caribbean, Mexico and Central or South America. CBC will administer this new restriction in the same manner it handles questions about other travel deferments during the standard screening process.
“Zika virus may be transmitted by transfusion and there is no test to screen blood donors,” said CBC Medical Director Dr. James Alexander. “We know the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently discussing official guidance about donors who have traveled to these regions. Until that guidance is available, we are taking this cautionary step.”
CBC is using the same caution as many other blood banks nationwide in deferring donors until 28 days after travel to Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central or South America. It is expected to result in the loss of approximately 2.25 percent of otherwise acceptable donors during the winter months when such travel is more common than in the summer months.
“This cautionary restriction comes during the heart of winter, the cold and flu season, and as we saw this week, winter weather that can make travel difficult,” said Dr. Alexander. “If you’re healthy and are not affected by this post-travel waiting period, please make an appointment to donate when you are able.”
The World Health Organization issued an international state of emergency on Feb. 1 as concerns mounted over the spread of Zika virus throughout South and Central America, particularly in Brazil where it is suspected that the virus is causing an uptick in a rare birth defect called microcephaly.
For more information donors can email CBC at [email protected] or call 937-461-3450.