MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) — The FDA announced new guidelines for blood donations. All blood donations in the United States and its territories are to be screened and tested for the zika virus. Officials hope it will help stop the spread of the virus.
LifeSouth Community Blood Centers in Mobile is already screening blood donations for zika. District Community Development Coordinator Angela Williams said the center collects another tube of blood during donations. They aim to collect 1000 units every week.
“It’s really important that the blood supply is safe for the patients that receiving the blood,” said Williams. “Because a sick patient in the hospital doesn’t need to be infected with the zika virus and they’re already fighting their other illness.”
In the past, zika screenings were done in hard hit areas like some counties in Florida and Puerto Rico.
Recent reports show Florida has 43 locally transmitted Zika cases. Officials are investigating more cases.
“We have two additional counties that we’re looking at on top of Miami-Dade, one is Pinellas, one case in Pinellas, one case in Palm Beach,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott.
The virus is known to impact pregnant women, causing birth defects in babies.
Zika can be spread by mosquitos and sexual intercourse. Authorities hope the mandate will add another layer of protection against zika.
So far, 16 Zika cases have been reported in Alabama.