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Zika virus blood donation guidelines released

Blood Transfusion

New guidelines to prevent further spread of the mosquito-borne virus Zika have been released by NHS Blood and Transplant, and the American Red Cross.

Those who have travelled to Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central or South America within 28 days prior to a blood donation are asked to wait to donate by the American Red Cross.

The Zika doesn’t cause symptoms in the majority of cases, but some can develop a rash, headache, eye pain and joint pain. It has been linked to cases of  babies being born with abnormally small heads.

NHS Blood and Transplant have also implemented a 28 day deferral for those who have travelled to endemic countries.

“A 28 day deferral for travel to areas with a tropical virus risk and a 6 month deferral for travel to malarial areas exists. As a result we do not expect the introduction of a Zika donation deferral to significantly impact upon the number of people who can donate following travel abroad.”

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