Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave 400,000 dollars to Alabama to fight Zika. The goal is to give real-time data about the Zika epidemic as it unfolds. Right now Lifesouth Community Blood Centers are taking steps to prevent the spread of Zika though blood donation.
Today Lifesouth centers started testing all the donated blood for the Zika virus. Zika is spread though bites from a specific mosquito and is believed to carry particular risk for birth defects in pregnant women. Now the CDC also says there’s a strong possibility that the Zika virus can be spread through blood transfusions. Most people infected with the Zika virus don’t show any symptoms, so blood donors may not know they’ve been infected. Lifesouth is committed to testing all donations to continue to provide clean blood.
Leah Ratliff from Lifesouth blood centers says, “If a donor were to test positive for the Zika virus, they would be deferred from donating for 56 days and they would be invited to continue in a followup study. Which means they would get little amounts of blood drawn every two weeks.”
One of the most significant aspects of blood safety is making sure donated blood doesn’t cause harm. This extra step is vital for the state because 85 percent of all the blood used in Alabama comes from Lifesouth.