Dayton blood center now required to test for Zika

Blood donation. (WDTN Photo/Justin Kraus)
Blood donation. (WDTN Photo/Justin Kraus)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Blood centers across the nation are being required to test for Zika, whether you’ve traveled out of the country or not.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made the recommendation due to how rapidly the virus is spreading.

2 NEWS went to the Dayton Community Blood Center and learned there will be two significant changes from here on out.

If you want to donate blood you have to sign new paperwork allowing it be used for research and tested for Zika. If you refuse, you can’t donate.

“The consent form is a HIPAA authorization. They can change their mind and leave the study, even after signing the consent. In the information sheet they learn their personal information will be protected, with only indirect links to data at the blood center to identify the sample,” said Mark Pompilio, Community Blood Center public relations.

In part the paperwork donors will have to agree to reads:

“Your blood sample will not be labeled with your name or other information that would identify you directly. Instead, it will have a unique code that allows for it to be linked to some of your donor history information kept at the study center where you gave your blood donation. The link means that your specimen can be identified but only indirectly. This helps protect your personal information.”

Pompilio doesn’t think the changes will impact intake. He says it’s a precaution and will benefit both the recipient and the donor.

“In general, we’re always trying to protect blood supply from any virus or anything that would be harmful to the recipient and Zika has been that concern, but now with this test in place there is a safe guard,” he said.

Pompilio says winter is their slow season and urges donors to come out to help strengthen supplies.

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