Eye on Health: Zika Blood Test - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New Equipment at Blood Assurance

Eye on Health: Zika Blood Test

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A new piece of equipment is the latest tool in the effort to keep the blood supply safe in the fight against Zika.  Dr. Liz Culler is the Medical Director at Blood Assurance

Dr. Liz Culler says "Since February we've needed to defer people who have visited areas of Zika transmission, that has impacted our blood supply."

More than 31-hundred cases of Zika have been reported across the United States. Miami Beach Florida was one of the hardest hit areas.

"This summer The FDA issued its recommendation that all blood donations throughout the United States be screened for Zika Virus."

That comes as welcome news to donors .

Helen Pieve, Blood Donor says "I'm always glad they do a lot of testing they test for a lot of things to make sure the products are pure when they go out."

At Blood Assurance they have been training on this new equipment that will be used to test all donor's blood for the Zika virus.

Dr. Liz Culler says " Our first run will be this weekend and we're looking forward to making the blood supply as safe as possible."

The most recent statistics from the CDC shows there were 39 cases of travel related Zika in Tennessee, 78 in Georgia, and 24 in Alabama.

Dr. Liz Culler says "We want to be proactive before it becomes an issue, we already want to have it addressed."

Dr. Culler says anyone who comes in to donate, their blood will be tested the next business day, and if it comes back positive..

Dr. Liz Culler says "We'll be asking that person to embark on a research study we'll ask them to come back and donate some more samples so we can continue to learn more about the virus.

And that information will help protect both those who receive as well as they who donate blood.

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