Blood donation centers testing for Zika - - Jackson, MS

Blood donation centers testing for Zika

Source: Pearl PD Source: Pearl PD
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

There have been 3314 travel-associated Zika cases in the US. Twenty-three of those are in Mississippi. So what's being done to keep it that way?

The CDC says there is a strong possibility Zika can be spread through blood transfusions, so Mississippi Blood Services has started testing for the virus. But the FDA didn't mandate they start testing donations until last Friday.

Blood donation centers already test for other diseases like HIV and West Nile, so Mere Eldridge with MBS says this is just one extra.

"Quite often the FDA does send guidance, an quite often it's a pretty quick turnaround," said Eldridge. "It was probably about a week that we were given to make sure we implemented everything that went along with the new testing."

MBS supplies blood for 45 hospitals across the state - one of which is the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

"Every state that has the Zika virus in it will be required to supply blood that's negative for the Zika virus. And that will increase the price of blood," said Ayman Asfur, the Director of Transfusions at UMMC.

The FDA adds a new test to the list every few years, and if one is added, it's there to stay.

So far, all of the Zika cases in the state have been travel-related. The CDC says right now Zika poses a low risk to the blood supply in the US, but warns that is subject to change. 

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