Blood Bank of Hawaii boosts testing to check for Zika
HONOLULU (AP) — Officials with the Blood Bank of Hawaii say they are launching a new screening procedure for donations to ensure all blood is free of the Zika virus.
Hawaii’s blood supply will undergo additional testing to check for Zika, which is transmitted through mosquito bites, sexual contact and potentially blood transfusion. The screening is expected to begin on all donations on Sept. 6, KHON-TV reported (http://bit.ly/2asw6jU).
Officials said their concerns are heightened because the same mosquito that transmits dengue fever can also transmit Zika. The state struggled to combat a dengue fever outbreak this year that infected more than 260 people on the Big Island.
“Should Hawaii become a Zika risk area, (without the additional testing) it’s possible that we might have to completely shut down all blood collection, and then Hawaii would be 100-percent dependent on imported blood from the mainland,” said Dr. Randal Covin, Blood Bank of Hawaii’s medical director.
Covin said the additional testing will be conducted on the mainland and the results will be passed along to the donor. He added that the “donation process will go the same as it always has” for people who want to donate.
The blood bank is also working with the state Department of Health on its efforts.
Information from: KHON-TV, http://khon.com