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Zika Testing Begins on Blood Donated at CBCO

Alex Juel

Blood given at the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is now being tested for the Zika virus.  All blood collection organizations in the U.S. are now required to test for the disease, which causes birth defects in pregnant women.

The first transmissions of the virus in the continental U.S. happened over the summer in Florida.  According to the CBCO, in August, the FDA released revised guidelines recommending universal testing of donated whole blood and blood components for the Zika virus in the U.S.  Since then, the blood bank has been working with the FDA to implement those guidelines.

CBCO spokesman Chris Pilgrim says the addition of the test will eliminate the need for donors to be questioned about travel to Zika endemic areas.

The blood bank’s executive director, Anthony Roberts, says he hopes the removal of some of the common travel question in their pre-donation materials will slightly increase the number of donors that are eligible to give.  He reminds people of the need for blood as the holidays approach.

Learn more about donating blood here.