HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) –
There are new concerns over the Zika virus from North Alabama’s largest blood bank. LifeSouth Community Blood Centers are denying donors because of new F.D.A. guidelines for the mosquito-borne illness. You’ll find some empty seats at the center in Madison.
“Our donors get busy with vacations and schools are out,” said LifeSouth’s District Director Jason Hodges. “And families are doing family activities and things of that nature, so donations tend to go down in the summer.”
Fear of the mosquito-borne Zika virus is making the problem worse.
“If they’ve traveled to a region that is considered an epidemic, we defer them for a matter of months until they are clear and they’re allowed to come back and donate,” said Hodges.
Hodges said the Food and Drug Administration is on high alert and providing strict guidelines to keep donors who have Zika from spreading it.
“People who don’t feel well, we defer also for the possibility of Zika because it could be Zika,” explained Hodges.
Currently, there are no Zika virus tests for donated blood but Hodges said that is in the works.
“Pandemic such as Puerto Rico and places like that,” said Hodges. “Yes, they have some testing that they’re trying to develop.”
For now, Hodges hopes those who are not traveling out of the country to consider filling LifeSouth’s empty seats.
“Now is a very important time for our donors to help us with blood donations,” said Hodges.
Hodges said testing should be available in a few months to allow all blood banks to check donated blood for the Zika virus.
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