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U.S. Blood Banks Taking Precautions With Donors Due To Zika Virus

California Department Of Public Health

The Aedes Aegypti also known as the Yellow Fever mosquito.

California Department Of Public Health

Blood banks in the U.S. now test potential donors for such conditions as West Nile Virus, HIV and hepatitis. But there is no approved testing for the Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects.

Dr. Johnathan Hughes is a medical director with Blood Source, which supplies blood to the Sacramento area and Northern California.

He says most people infected with the Zika virus show no symptoms, so people who have recently traveled out of the country are not acceptable donors.

"We'll be deferring donors for a temporary period of time to not donate for 28 days after traveling to Mexico, all destinations in the Caribbean, Central, South America," says Hughes.

Hughes says about two and a half percent of donors have a history of travel to those countries so there will a concerted effort to make sure members of that group don't donate blood until it is safe for them to do so.

 zika virus

Rich Ibarra

Contributing Central Valley/Foothills Reporter

As the Central Valley correspondent, Rich Ibarra covers San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties, along with the foothill areas including Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. He covers politics, the economy and issues affecting the region.   Read Full Bio