NYC-based blood bank will screen all blood for Zika virus

Henrietta Brewer
August 31, 2016

In the next four weeks, SC and 10 other states should begin screening blood donations for the Zika virus, following a U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendation.

President Obama said "Republicans in Congress should treat Zika like the threat that it is and make this their first order of business when they come back to Washington after Labor Day".

The next step is for researchers to test the drugs on animals infected with the Zika virus, which can be transmitted to people through a sexual partner or the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito.

The Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly, which causes unusually small heads and brain damage in children born to infected mothers.

No locally-transmitted cases of the virus have been recorded in IN, and the mosquito that carries the virus isn't native to the state. Officials with the Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas say adding the zika test to their screening process will cost roughly $10 dollars per donation.

"There are now almost 100 confirmed cases of Zika in Texas, all travel-related", Legacy Community Health stated.

And now that the virus is actively spreading in Florida, the need for more funding is more urgent. The Zika outbreak has already reached Florida in the United States, and in numerous countries and territories in the Americas such as Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Peru.

"Congenital infection with Zika virus should be considered a risk factor for hearing loss", the researchers concluded.

A blood or urine test can confirm if a person is infected with Zika.

On Friday the FDA announced that all blood donations in the USA needed to be scanned for Zika, which over the last few weeks has spread into Florida and Puerto Rico.

Earlier this year, Roche won separate approval from the FDA for its Cobas 6800/8800 testing system to be used to test blood at US blood centers including in Puerto Rico. Vision problems and malformed joints have also been documented recently. Anyone who gets the disease can spread it to a pregnant woman, she said.

It was published Tuesday in Center for Disease Control and Prevention's online journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The virus, which causes severe birth defects, has hit tropical USA territories hard and begun spreading in Florida.

"The good news is that (blood) donations from Washington and OR have been safe for transfusion", said Casey Zerbe, a Lane Blood Center spokeswoman. Blood banks and donation centers adhere to those guidelines.

The FDA sent the recommendation stating that Georgia and SC would have to institute testing within 4 weeks unlike other states that have been given 12 weeks.

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