BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - United Blood Services is asking potential donors who have traveled to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America or South America to not donate blood for about a month after leaving those areas for fear of spreading the Zika virus.
"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 United Blood Services. "We are aware that the US 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."
Officials said they are asking travelers to wait 28 days before donating blood. They are concerned the wait may cut the blood supply significantly. They estimate the number of eligible donors will be reduced by about 2 percent.
They are hoping many people not affected by restrictions step up and donate in order to help keep the blood supply adequate.