Nebraska Community Blood Bank Begins Testing for Zika Virus

December 19, 2016 (Lincoln, NE) — Nebraska Community Blood Bank (NCBB) has begun testing all donated blood for the Zika virus.

On August 26, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised all U.S. blood centers to begin testing all units of blood and blood products for the Zika virus by November 18. On November 14, NCBB implemented Zika testing protocols with newly acquired equipment, and to date, all tests have been negative for the Zika virus.

All U.S. blood centers are using a Zika virus screening test that is considered investigational, and which is recommended by the FDA for this purpose. Since the virus was first observed transmitting locally in certain areas of the country in January 2016, the FDA has requested that blood donors self-defer from donating for 28 days after travel to areas at risk for the Zika virus. Because of the new testing procedures, beginning December 19, 2016, donors will no longer be asked to self-defer from donating blood after travel to affected areas.

The FDA says that testing all blood products will help reduce the risk of Zika transmission via blood transfusion. NCBB is committed to providing the safest possible blood supply to area hospitals and recipients.

About the Zika Virus

  • The Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito in countries with active transmission. Zika can also be spread by sexual contact.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4 out of 5 people infected with the Zika virus never develop symptoms, however, when symptoms occur they may include fever, joint pain, red area on skin with small bumps, and conjunctivitis (red, irritated eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache.
  • Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects and is associated with other adverse pregnancy outcomes.

About Nebraska Community Blood Bank
Since 1968 Nebraska Community Blood Bank has been committed to connecting people and saving lives. Nebraska Community Blood Bank supplies lifesaving blood to healthcare facilities throughout eastern Nebraska. For more information, call 1-877-486-9414 or visit About Us