Zika virus found in Florida blood donation

Zika blood testing
Blood awaiting testing for Zika virus (Photo: WFLA)

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Officials confirm the Zika virus has been found in a blood donation that was made in Florida.

A OneBlood spokesperson says the blood was tested at a OneBlood lab facility in St. Petersburg.

The OneBlood rep could not give specifics on where the Zika positive blood donation came from.

OneBlood tests every Florida donor’s blood for Zika.

The virus is spread by certain mosquitoes, but men who are infected can also spread it to their sexual partners. According to the World Health Organization, the virus has been detected “in semen, blood, urine, amniotic fluids, saliva as well as body fluids found in the brain and spinal cord.”

Zika has been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, where the patient’s immune system attacks their nervous system, but the greater known risk is to fetuses, which may develop with smaller brains and smaller heads, known as microcepahly.

A Florida Department of Health of Pinellas spokesperson says the department started administering a free Zika test for pregnant moms on August 4.

So far, they’ve tested 174 pregnant women.

Earlier this week, the Center for Disease Control issued new travel guidelines for expectant mothers to avoid Maimi-Dade area after new Zika cases were confirmed.