FDA Advises Testing for Zika in all Donated Blood

FDA Advises Testing for Zika in All Donated Blood

The revised guidance recommends all states and U.S. territories screen for the virus.

The FDA has issued revised guidance recommending universal testing of donated blood and blood components for Zika in the United States and its territories.

"There is still much uncertainty regarding the nature and extent of Zika virus transmission," said Dr. Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. "At this time, the recommendation for testing the entire blood supply will help ensure that safe blood is available for all individuals who might need transfusion."

Guidance originally recommended that only areas with active Zika virus transmission should screen blood donations for the virus. All current active areas are in compliance with that guidance, but the revised guidance now recommends all states and territories screen donated blood and blood parts for the virus. The revision was made after the agency consulted with other public health agencies and took into account the affect the virus can have on pregnant women and children born to women exposed by the virus.

"As new scientific and epidemiological information regarding Zika virus has become available, it's clear that additional precautionary measures are necessary," said Dr. Luciana Borio, M.D., FDA's acting chief scientist. "We are issuing revised guidance for immediate implementation in order to help maintain the safety of the U.S. blood supply."

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