Pointing to concerns about transmission of the Zika virus, the federal Food and Drug Administration on Thursday requested that blood banks in Miami-Dade and Broward counties temporarily halt collecting blood until safeguards are put in place.
The announcement came after Florida Department of Health officials said they are investigating four Zika cases in Miami-Dade and Broward that might not be linked to people traveling out of state. Those cases could indicate that mosquitoes are transmitting the disease to people in Florida — a major concern of health officials.
“In consideration of the possibility of local transmission of the Zika virus, and as a prudent measure to help assure the safety of blood and blood products, the FDA is requesting that all blood establishments in Miami-Dade County and Broward County cease collecting blood immediately until the blood establishments implement testing of each individual unit of blood collected in the two counties with an available investigation donor screening test for Zika virus RNA or until the blood establishments implement the use of an approved or investigation pathogen inactivation technology,” the federal agency said in a statement Thursday.
Zika, which is particularly dangerous to pregnant women and can cause severe birth defects, emerged last year in South America. The number of Floridians diagnosed with the virus has steadily climbed, but until recently health officials said all of the infections had resulted from travel outside the state.
In information posted on its website Thursday, the Florida Department of Health said it was continuing to investigate the four cases in Miami-Dade and Broward that might not be connected to travel.
“Door-to-door outreach and sample collection are ongoing in all cases,” the information said.
“The department will share more details as they become available. Residents and visitors are urged to participate in requests for urine samples by the department in the areas of investigation. These results will help the department determine the number of people affected.”
Apr 03, 2017 0