FDA revises blood donation guidelines due to Zika outbreak

Aug 27, 2016, 07:11

"At this time, the recommendation for testing the entire blood supply will help ensure that safe blood is available for all individuals who might need transfusion".

Zika virus can also be spread by sexual contact.

There have been no cases of Zika related to blood transfusions in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No such cases have been reported in the United States.

Veloz said donations of blood are lower in the summer and should pick up now that schools are back in session.

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Testing, however, confirmed that he had been exposed to Zika, researchers said. Women can also pass the virus to men through sex, a recent study found.

Adding to the challenge is that four out of five people infected never develop symptoms, such as fever, joint pain and rash.

The case suggests the risk of Zika's spread may be far greater than previously understood, and may lead to more stringent recommendations about who should practice protected sex and for how long after traveling to Zika-affected areas, said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the man said his only symptom was feeling a bit exhausted, which he chalked up to having recently traveled.

United States health officials Friday, August 26, reported the first known case of a man who acquired Zika virus while traveling, showed no symptoms, and infected his female partner during unprotected sex. The infection can cause the child to be born with microcephaly - small head syndrome - as well as brain damage and other birth defects.

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The FDA first issued guidance on February 16 recommending that only areas with active Zika virus transmission screen donated Whole Blood and blood components for Zika virus, use pathogen-reduction devices, or halt blood collection and obtain Whole Blood and blood components from areas of the US without active virus transmission. "Should an outbreak of Zika occur in our county, our elected officials should be able to utilize the most effective ways to not only contain the virus but eliminate it".

In a statement released Friday, the FDA says all those areas are currently in compliance with blood screening, but that expanded testing is now needed. However, the newborn's blood tested positive for the Zika virus and at 67 days, health officials detected a "clear neurological decline".

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, promotes and protects the public health by, among other things, assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices.

Friday's advisory means all USA states and territories will need to begin testing blood donations for Zika. On the list: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, South Carolina and Texas.

The new recommendation expands the guidance to all USA states and territories.

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