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OneBlood Will Start Screening Donations In Florida For Zika

Zika virus is spread primarily by mosquitoes.

OneBlood will soon start screening blood for Zika. The move comes as health officials investigate a possible non-travel related Zika case in Miami-Dade.

The Florida Department of Health is trying to determine whether sexual transmission or travel were the source, and health officials are looking into whether a mosquito bite could be responsible. If so, the woman would be the first person infected directly by a mosquito inside the continental U.S.

The goal is to have a supply of blood that hospitals can access knowing it came from an unaffected area and has been screened. This blood can then be used for high-risk patients, such as pregnant women.

OneBlood’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Rita Reik said they’ll test as much blood as hospitals need. “We anticipate that we’ll start out with a relative small proportion and then that will expand over time, and it may not,” said Reik. “We’re really letting our hospitals tell us how much blood they want.”

OneBlood will start screening for Zika on August 1st and will do so until health officials are sure it’s no longer a threat in Florida.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 5:30 pm on July 21, 2016 to include that the Florida Department Health hasn’t ruled out sexual transmission or travel as the source of infection.

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About Catherine Welch

Catherine Welch