SC blood donations to be tested for Zika - FOX Carolina 21

SC blood donations to be tested for Zika

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Blood donated will now be tested for the Zika virus. (FOX Carolina) Blood donated will now be tested for the Zika virus. (FOX Carolina)

As fears of the Zika virus spread, the FDA issued a new directive Friday to blood banks that they must test blood donations for the virus. 

Staff at The Blood Connection, which operates in the Upstate, western North Carolina and Georgia, said they have been screening donors since the beginning of the month as a proactive approach to combating the potential for Zika-contaminated donations.

"There were still a lot of unknowns about the Zika virus. We decided - basically - better safe than sorry," said Donna Ehrlich, director of Donor Resources for The Blood Connection. 

Donors who have traveled to Zika-prone areas are deferred from donating for at least 28 days. All donors' blood samples will be tested for Zika along with other infectious diseases, according to the FDA guidance

The test is expected to be effective enough that screening questions regarding travel to Zika-prone areas will no longer be necessary, Ehrlich said. 

Studies show the Zika virus, borne typically by mosquitoes and occasionally through sexual intercourse, can be very dangerous to pregnant women. Babies infected can be born with birth defects. Doctors recommended blood testing in all 50 states, but many agree Southern states, particularly those closest to Florida, are vital.

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