If you have not traveled to the Caribbean (including Puerto Rico), Mexico or Central or South America in the past 28-days and are eligible to donate…please schedule an appointment today to give blood in the next 14 days.
To make your appointment,
CLICK HERE or call 1-877-UBS-HERO (827-4376).
Self-deferral for travelers to affected regions: Zika Virus can be transmitted to people through mosquito bites and through sexual contact with someone who is exposed. Donors are asked to self-defer for a 28-day period if they’ve traveled to Mexico, the Caribbean (including Puerto Rico), or Central or South America. Also, a donor should self-defer for 28 days after the last sexual contact with a man who has been diagnosed with Zika Virus or who traveled to or resided in the Caribbean (including Puerto Rico), Mexico or Central and South America in the 3 months prior to that instance of sexual contact.
United Blood Services and its affiliated blood centers continue to ship blood components to Puerto Rico, where all blood drives have been canceled due to Zika Virus risk.
Blood centers in states along the border with Mexico will be particularly affected. Our center in El Paso has already experienced an average of 20-to-30% reduction in donations—and in some cases up to 60%.
We’re already noticing an impact at our blood drives and at our centers where we’ve received fewer donations than expected this past week. If you are eligible, your help is needed and your donation is important. If you have made a blood donation appointment or scheduled a blood drive, we ask that you please keep it.
United Blood Services using three lines of defense
to protect blood supply from Zika
Beyond requesting the self-deferrals outlined above, United Blood Services, this area’s non-profit blood provider, has a third line of defense to safeguard the blood supply from Zika Virus. In addition to following the two standard recommendations of the AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks), United Blood Services will use its computer system to defer blood donors who provide information about travel within the past 28 days to the Caribbean (including Puerto Rico), Mexico or Central or South America.
In line with the AABB recommendations, United Blood Services advises donors to alert the blood center if they develop symptoms that might indicate a viral infection, like Zika, within 14 days of their donation. (Please go to your local donor center in person or call our post-donation line: 855-540-8064.) The CDC lists the most common Zika symptoms as fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The blood center also has posted signs instructing people to delay their donation if they’ve recently traveled to areas where the mosquito-borne Zika virus is spreading.
“The situation is complex and it’s changing rapidly,” said Dr. Hany Kamel, vice president and corporate medical director for Blood Systems, the national office of United Blood Services. “As we ask every donor our standard questions about travel, we will identify those who should wait. Our computer system will allow us to flag them so they will not be able to donate with us until they’ve been back in the U.S. for 28 days.”
“We expect that we will be asked to supplement the blood supply to those regions most affected,” said Sid Lewis, District Director of Donor Recruitment, of United Blood Services in Arizona. “If you’re healthy and are not affected by this post-travel waiting period, please make an appointment today to donate blood in the coming weeks.”