Status of Zika testing on blood products


Submitted by Pradeep K. Bhagat, MD, Medical Director, Main Line Health Laboratories


The American Red Cross is currently testing for the Zika virus RNA with a qualitative screening nucleic acid test (NAT) in blood donations from states regarded at greatest risk of local Zika virus mosquito transmission, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.


Blood from these states imported to the Penn-Jersey Red Cross and distributed to MLH Hospitals will have a comment on the blood bag ISBT label in the lower right quadrant: “Neg for Zika by an investigational NAT,” indicating that units labeled as negative for Zika virus RNA were tested with an investigational nucleic acid test (NAT) and found to be nonreactive.


The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recently recommended that all donated blood in the US be tested for the Zika virus and has given the remaining states, even where the Zika virus is not circulating, 12 weeks to comply.


If you have any questions, please call Dr. Bhagat at 484-476-3521 or Liz Klinger, Blood Bank manager at 484-476-2606.

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