FDA: Screen All Blood Donations for Zika Virus

The FDA has recommended universal testing for Zika virus on donated whole blood and blood components collected in the United States.

The recommendations were based on evidence that Zika is asymptomatic in approximately 80% of infected individuals, Zika RNA has been detected in whole blood as late as 58 days following symptoms, Zika virus was found in asymptomatic blood donors during the French Polynesia outbreak in 2013-2014and in Puerto Rico in 2016, and probable transmission of Kia by blood transfusion has been reported.

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To screen the blood, the FDA has authorized the use of an investigational test until a fully approved test becomes available. Pathogen reduction technology is to be used for the testing of platelets and plasma.

Blood collection establishments in Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, South Carolina, and Texas are to implement the recommendations as soon as possible, but no later than 4 weeks after this guidance was issued.

Remaining states are to implement the recommendations as soon as possible, but no later than 12 weeks following the guidelines.

—Michael Potts


US Department of Health and Human Services. Revised recommendations for reducing the risk of Zika virus transmission by blood and blood components. Effective August 26, 2016. Accessed August 29, 2016.