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Community Blood Services Takes Steps
to Prevent Spread of Zika Virus


March 2016

 

Community Blood Services, this area’s non-profit blood provider, is asking potential donors who have traveled to the Caribbean, Mexico or Central or South America not to donate blood for 28 days after leaving those areas to prevent the spread of the Zika virus in the United States.

The mosquito-borne Zika virus is becoming more widespread. A growing number of U.S. cases have been identified among travelers returning from affected areas, according to the blood center which serves New Jersey and New York.

“Zika virus could be transmitted by transfusion and there is no test to screen blood donors,” said Dr. Hany Kamel, vice president and corporate medical director for Blood Systems, the national office of Community Blood Services.

“We are aware that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is discussing official guidance about donors who have traveled to these regions. Until that guidance is available, we are taking this cautionary step,” Kamel said.

The restriction is expected to reduce the number of eligible donors across the U.S. by an estimated 2 percent, according to a recent survey of community blood centers. Blood centers in states along the border with Mexico will be particularly affected, as will states in the north and Midwest where some residents routinely travel to Mexico and the Caribbean to escape winter weather.

“This hits right in the middle of cold and flu season, so it’s really important for the rest of us to step up to make sure the community has a safe and ample blood supply,” said Karen Ferriday, director of community affairs at Community Blood Services based in Montvale, New Jersey. “If you’re healthy and are not affected by this post-travel waiting period, please make an appointment today to donate blood in the coming weeks.”

Click here to make an appointment to donate or call 201-251-3703. Blood donation takes about an hour from check-in to refreshments.

Volunteer blood donors must be 16 to 75 years old, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, and be in good health. Donors who are 16 or 17 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian.

CLICK HERE FOR ZIKA VIRUS TRAVEL DEFERRALS (ENGLISH)

CLICK HERE FOR ZIKA VIRUS TRAVEL DEFERRALS (SPANISH)

CLICK HERE FOR POST DONATION INFORMATION (ENGLISH)

CLICK HERE FOR POST DONATION INFORMATION (SPANISH)


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