The Food and Drug Administration is recommending certain guidelines for blood donations and donors while the Zika virus remains prevalent in Central and South America.
In parts of the U.S. where the Zika virus is not actively being transmitted, The FDA says that donors should wait at least four weeks before donating blood if they had symptoms of the Zika virus or traveled to a region where there is active Zika transmission within the last four weeks.
The FDA recommends a three month waiting period for anyone who has had sexual contact with a person who has traveled to a region where the Zika virus is being actively transmitted within the last four weeks.
According to the FDA, donors should not give blood in areas where the Zika virus is active, and medical facilities should get donated blood from other regions where the virus is not active.
The FDA says there have not been any cases of the Zika virus being spread through donated blood in the U.S., but they believe these recommendations will reduce the chances of that happening.
Currently, there is no way to test the donated blood for the Zika virus, but the FDA says they are making it a priority to discover blood screening and diagnostic tests, and they say they are gearing up to quickly evaluate any potential vaccines.
The Zika virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes, but there have been a few cases of it being transmitted through sexual contact. There is currently no vaccine or cure for the Zika virus. Zika has been linked to microcephaly, a severe birth defect that causes infants to have under-developed brains and heads.