To avoid the Zika virus from being spread through blood transfusions, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is prohibiting blood centers in Zika impacted regions from collecting and distributing blood products unless all units of blood are first tested for the virus. A test is currently in development however until it becomes available, blood collections in Puerto Rico remain halted.
“Puerto Rico is facing an unprecedented health crisis. Lives depend on the blood being available and we stand ready to assist the people of Puerto Rico until further notice,” said Don Doddridge, President and CEO of OneBlood. “As stewards of the blood supply it is our responsibility to ensure the blood is available when and where it is needed. We are urging all eligible blood donors to donate as soon as possible to help ensure an adequate supply of blood locally and in Puerto Rico,” said Doddridge.
With the support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), OneBlood is working in conjunction with the Blood Centers of America (BCA), America’s Blood Centers (ABC) and the American Red Cross (ARC) to provide the necessary blood. (Click here to view joint statement).
Although Florida is not experiencing active transmission of the Zika virus, OneBlood plans to implement the Zika test as appropriate once it becomes available and in accordance with FDA regulations.
Last month OneBlood took proactive steps to further protect the local blood supply from the Zika virus by enacting additional donor deferral guidelines, updating the donor history questionnaire to include Zika-specific questions and issuing educational materials. (Click here to view additional details about the safety measures enacted).
OneBlood is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) community asset responsible for providing safe, available and affordable blood to more than 200 hospital partners and their patients throughout most of Florida, parts of Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. The OneBlood name is a constant reminder of the collective power we share to save another person’s life.