Zika Virus Update
Zika Virus Overview
Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika virus infection are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika virus infection. Public health officials believe it may be associated with severe birth defects in some babies whose mothers had the virus when pregnant. Since the outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil and other areas in the western hemisphere, officials have reported an increase in infants born with microcephaly in these areas.
A frequently updated page on the Zika virus can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/
Zika Virus Transmission
Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (A. aegypti and A. albopictus). These are the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.
A mother already infected with Zika virus near the time of delivery can pass on the virus to her newborn around the time of birth, but this is rare. A mother can pass Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy. To date, there are no reports of infants contracting Zika virus through breastfeeding.
Zika virus can be transmitted by a man to his sex partners.
As of February, 1, 2016, there have not been any confirmed blood transfusion transmission cases in the United States. There have been multiple reports of blood transfusion transmission cases in Brazil. These reports are currently being investigated. During the French Polynesian outbreak, 2.8% of blood donors tested positive for Zika virus. The maximum time for the virus to stay in the bloodstream is unknown, but scientists think it is less than four weeks.
Testing for the Zika Virus
There is no available test approved for blood donation screening.
Recommendations for Blood Donors
Travel History Risk Factor
If you have traveled to any areas of active Zika virus transmission (please see list of affected areas at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/active-countries.html), we ask that you not donate until more than 4 weeks have passed since your return.
Sexual Contact History Risk Factor
Transmission through sexual contact with a man, even many weeks after he was initially infected with Zika virus, has been reported. Zika virus persists for a longer time in male sexual body fluids than it does in blood. It is not known if a woman can transmit Zika virus to her sex partners. You should not donate blood for more than four weeks from the date of last sexual contact with a man infected with Zika virus. You should not donate blood for more than four weeks from the date of last sexual contact with a man who has traveled in an area with active Zika virus transmission at any time in the past three months.
If you have a suspected or diagnosed Zika virus infection and have donated blood within the last four weeks prior to diagnosis, please notify us at (650) 725-9968.
Source: CDC Website http://www.cdc.gov/zika/
Last updated 03/01/16