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2016-02-18

Zika virus affects blood donations

Public Announcement

Medical administrators with the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC) have announced it will be following recommended Zika virus guidelines and ask donors who have traveled to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and parts of South America to postpone blood donation until 28 days after their return.
The AABB, a blood bank association, issued the guidelines to its members to maintain blood supply safety.
“Our top priority is maintaining the safety of our blood supply,” said Dr. Rachel Beddard, South Texas Blood & Tissue Center medical director. “Because this is a rapidly evolving situation, we’ll keep the public informed as guidelines and policies are updated.”
STBTC estimates the changes will result in the loss of as many as 10,000 donations a year in the South Texas collection area.
“Now more than ever, it’s important that anyone who’s healthy and able to donate come in and give so we all can continue to help save lives,” Beddard continued. “It’s imperative that we maintain the blood supply to the hospitals we serve and to make sure we have enough blood on the shelves to treat people who are injured or ill.”
Beddard is specifically asking that O negative and O positive donors, as well as people who have never donated before, step up because it’s critical to have these particular blood supplies available for pregnant women and newborns.
Donors can call or make an appointment online at one of seven convenient donation sites or at one of hundreds of mobile drives across South Texas.
Donors must be well on the day of donation and should report any illness in the days after a donation to STBC.
To make an appointment, visit SouthTexasBlood.org or call 855-326-5765.