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By Gary Evans, AHC Media Senior Staff Writer
Underscoring the threat of Zika virus transmission via the blood supply, the Food and Drug Administration is calling for all states to screen donations, with Florida to do so immediately.
“Test all donations collected in the U.S. and its territories with an investigational individual donor nucleic acid test for [Zika] under an investigational new drug application, or when available, a licensed test, or implement pathogen reduction technology for platelets and plasma,” the FDA stated. “Blood establishments that collect whole blood and blood components in U.S. states and territories with one or more reported locally acquired mosquito-borne cases of [Zika] should implement the recommendations immediately. You should cease blood collection until testing or the use of pathogen reduction technology is implemented, consistent with the recommendations in this guidance.”
That translates to Florida and Puerto Rico, the latter of which has already been screening blood for the virus. However, 11 other states were told to implement blood testing as soon as feasible and no later than four weeks from the issuance of the guidance.
Because of their proximity to areas with locally acquired mosquito-borne cases of Zika or the number of travel-associated cases the following states must meet the four-week deadline for blood testing: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, South Carolina and Texas.
Other U.S. states and territories should follow suit no later than 12 weeks after the guidance issue date of Aug. 26.