Blood donation centers in AL testing donors for Zika virus

Blood donation centers in AL testing donors for Zika virus

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The CDC says officials are having trouble getting rid of mosquitoes in a part of Florida where it looks like 14 people got the Zika virus.

The agency is issuing a travel warning asking pregnant women not to go to Miami's Wynwood arts district right now.

In Alabama, Lifesouth started taking some new precautions.

Lifesouth Community Blood Centers across the state started testing all of their donors for the Zika virus.

Leah Ratliff with Lifesouth in Birmingham says centers in Florida implemented this first because of possible mosquito transmissions of the virus.

Ratliff says this is being done in Alabama for safety reasons as officials want to do everything possible to make sure the blood supply provided to hospitals is safe.

When you go to donate locally it won't be much of a change. You'll have to give an extra tube of blood for the Zika testing and sign an extra consent form.

"80 percent of people who have contracted Zika are asymptomatic and that's why it's important we test everyone. Just to make sure the blood supplies at the hospitals are safe," said Ratliff.

Ratliff says Lifesouth provides the majority of blood used in hospitals in the state.

During the summer months there's always a blood shortage, so officials hope these changes won't deter people from making blood donations.
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