Zika virus continues to make headlines as health officials alert the public about potential risks of spreading the virus through blood donations. The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) issued protective measures to blood collection facilities, including the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center, requesting self-deferral from donation until 28 days after travel to Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central or South America. The goal of the self-deferral is to help thwart a potential threat to blood recipients to make sure the nation's blood supply remains safe. The virus is dangerous for pregnant women because it has been linked to a birth defect called microcephaly.
Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center Medical Director Justin Kreuter, M.D, says, "Mayo Clinic is following the recommendations of the American Association of Blood Banks to get the word out to blood donors that if you are returning from South America or Mexico, you should not donate blood until you've been back in the United States for 28 days."