LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) For many in Kentucky, Zika is not a big concern.
Blood donor Brandon Warden says, “It doesn’t really worry me much.”
“We really don’t live close to any of the areas that have been affected or anything so it may or may reach this area,” says blood donor Ramona Lee.
But they may be more so now that the FDA is taking extra precautions. It’s asking not just blood centers in states like Florida where there’s been active Zika transmission, but in all fifty states to screen for the incurable virus.
For the past month, the Kentucky Blood Center has been preparing, turning away those who’ve traveled to affected areas. And it’s confident it’ll meet the FDA’s November 18th deadline for it and other Southern states.
Martha Osborne, Executive Director for Marketing & Recruitment at the Kentucky Blood Center, says “There’s quite a bit of paperwork that has to be done in order to qualify for the testing and, so we’ve been working on all of that knowing that something like this would happen.”
The blood center will have to make significant changes, to how blood is collected, stored in tubes, how it screens donors, and will need to make computer updates. The recommendation comes during the summer when the blood center is usually low on supply. On top of that labor day weekend is a week away.
Osborne says, “We’re going into a holiday weekend when there’s an increased risk of traumas, increased risk of transfusions, so it’s more important than ever that healthy individuals who can share their life come and donate blood and save lives.”
For donors the change means signing an additional consent form to participate in an investigational new drug protocol. But donors say it won’t keep them away.
Lee says, “It’s one way that we can all help out there’s so many things that people are affected now so they can’t give.”
Warden says, “Even though it may not be necessary at the time going the extra mile to make sure what we can do that you know, keeps everybody safe.”