"Zika Zone" Affecting Area Blood Donations
Due to cases of the Zika Virus, potential blood donors are now being asked if they've traveled recently to south Florida. The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center wants people who visited Miami-Dade and Broward counties to postpone giving blood for up to one month after their return.
The center serves 88 hospitals in four states, and has already announced a "Zika Virus travel deferral" for anyone who's visited Mexico, the Carribean, Central and South America, and the Pacific Islands.
Spokesman Kirby Winn says this is the first time a US location has been added to the deferral list.
"Even thought the reports on the Zika transmission within that region are really isolated, even to certain neighborhoods within Miami-Dade County, we've brought that out to the county itself," he said.
And since many travelers probably don't know which counties they visited, the blood center shows donors a list of the cities in each of the two counties. He emphasizes the deferral does NOT affect other parts of Florida such as Orlando and Jacksonville.
Winn says before the outbreak in south Florida, their national organization estimated about 2 per cent of potential donors would have traveled to the previous Zika locations.
"It's not major numbers by any means, but we collect anywhere from 500 to 800 donations every day, so even 2% is 2 out of every 100, and it begins to add up over the week or over the month," he said.
The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, based in Davenport, provides blood and blood products to hospitals from southwest Wisconsin to southern Illinois and Saint Louis, and from Danville in eastern Illinois to Albia in eastern Iowa.