As the Zika virus is spreading widely in the United States and Latin America, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a set of guidelines for accepting blood donations in these regions.
The FDA has stated that blood banks should not obtain blood from people who have recently traveled to the Zika-epidemic countries. The virus is being actively transmitted through mosquitoes for the past four weeks in these areas.
‘The Food and Drug Administration issued new guidelines for blood banks intended to help prevent the contamination of the US blood supply with the Zika virus.’
The agency is also asking the banks not to collect blood from persons who have had sexual contact with someone who has traveled to a Zika-affected areas in the last three months.
Though there is no proven evidence for ZIKA virus transmission through blood and sexual intercourse, the agency is issuing this guideline as a safety concern to prevent Zika spread.
FDA has not received any reports regarding the virus entry into the US blood supply, but blood transmission is a real possibility. Therefore, FDA is recommending blood banks to collect blood from non-Zika-epidemic countries.
"Based on the best available evidence, we believe the new recommendations will help reduce the risk of collecting blood and blood components from donors who may be infected with the Zika virus," said Dr. Peter Marks, FDA biologics director.
It has also recommended travelers to Zika outbreak countries to wait at least 28 days before donating blood. Blood banks have also been suggested to update Zika-related donor questionnaire.
Blood banks in the United States were given no longer than four weeks to adopt the guidelines while blood banks in areas with active transmission of the Zika virus have two weeks.