The FDA has demanded that all blood centers located in the United States and its territories must screen donated blood for the Zika virus. Before this new nationwide regulation was announced only Florida and Puerto Rico were required to test blood procured from blood banks. The required testing conducted at blood banks in Puerto Rico and Florida have proven to be effective at preventing the further spread of the Zika virus.
Blood donation sites are already required to test for west nile, HIV, Hepatitis and several other blood-borne diseases, so the addition of mandatory Zika testing will not be inconvenient for blood donation centers. Some states are already voluntarily screening donated blood for the Zika virus. One blood donation site emphasizes the affordability of the equipment needed to test for the Zika virus. Officials at a South Texas blood center claim that testing for the Zika virus only sets the blood center back ten dollars. The mandatory expansion in required Zika testing comes after several vocal concerns made by politicians on Capitol Hill.
Why is mandatory testing for Zika at blood banks a requirement only now?