Blood Donations Soon Tested For Zika

Aedes aegypti mosquito
This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. On Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, U.S. health officials are telling pregnant women to avoid travel to Latin America and Caribbean countries with outbreaks of a tropical illness linked to birth defects. The Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites from Aedes aegypti and causes only a mild illness in most people. But there’s been mounting evidence linking the virus to a surge of a rare birth defect in Brazil. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP)

One pint of blood, can save three lives, and with concerns over the Zika virus Lifesouth blood center is taking precautions to keep the disease from spreading.

For blood donor Cindy Steiner, she can appreciate the extra test.

“Anything we can do to prevent that is extremely important,” says Steiner.

It’s important because more and more cases of the mosquito borne illness are popping up.

Just this morning 14 cases are in the state of Florida, but in Alabama before anything spreads, Lifesouth is making sure prevention happens.

“Zika’s now been found, active in Miami-Dade and therefore we don’t know when it might transfer to some other state, or other county so as a result, to be preemptive, we are going ahead and testing everyone before, we become an active territory,” says Lifesouth regional Director Jacob Cooper.

If you decide to donate blood, you might not notice much of a difference.

“So once the person is ready to donate, blood, we’ll explain to them, a new process which they would also have to consent to receive testing for zika as well,” says Cooper.

The people we talked to say they don’t mind giving permission.

“No they already do a lot of testing, this is just one additional test to, form a viable test, to prevent us from passing Zika to potentially someone it could harm,” says Steiner.

“If it does become prevalent, we need to have measures in place to combat against that of course, so yes it’s very important,” says donor Jay Crane.

Important to continue to save lives, and keep the virus from spreading.

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