Zika travel deferral removed for all blood donors

Published Wednesday, November 16, 2016


On November 11, 2016, The Community Blood Center (CBC) began testing all blood donations for the Zika Virus. With this change in procedure, the waiting period for donors after visiting an active Zika area has been removed. In March of 2016, all individuals were deferred from donating blood if they had been to areas with active Zika virus transmission, were potentially exposed to the virus, or had a confirmed Zika virus infection.

“This additional test allows us to welcome back donors who had traveled to an active Zika area and were deferred,” said Kris Belanger, Vice President, Donor Services. “We are thankful for your commitment to CBC and to the safety of patients relying on donated blood products. We are excited to see you back at one of our donor centers or mobile blood drives!”

Wisconsin has seen zero locally-acquired cases of Zika and 49 travel-associated cases (meaning someone was infected while traveling in an area with Zika transmission and returned infected). To date, the CDC reports that there have not been any confirmed blood transfusion transmission cases in the U.S. Our nation’s blood centers are working diligently to ensure we maintain the highest level of safety within the blood supply.

The virus, which results in mild symptoms of fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis, poses most threat to pregnant women. When passed to a fetus, Zika can cause severe birth defects. Zika is spread mostly by the bite of two mosquito species which carry the virus—Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. In addition to mosquito-borne transmission, Zika can also be transmitted from mother to fetus, through sex, blood transfusion or laboratory exposure.

To schedule a blood donation, please call (800) 280-4102 or visit www.communityblood.org. Donors must meet specific eligibility criteria outlined by the FDA, accrediting organizations (such as AABB) and individual donation centers. To donate in Wisconsin, individuals must be at least 16 years old, in general good health and must meet weight and hemoglobin level requirements on donation day. Donors are encouraged to eat a regular meal and drink plenty of water prior to donation, and present a photo ID upon donation.

The Community Blood Center was established in 1955 and continues today as an independent non-profit organization providing a safe and reliable blood supply to hospitals in Northeast Wisconsin, the Northwoods and upper Michigan. CBC has donor centers in Appleton, Oshkosh, Little Chute and Woodruff, plus hosts over 100 blood drives every month. For more information on how you can donate blood or host a blood drive, please visit communityblood.org or call (800) 280-4102.

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