Zika virus has Canadian Blood Services considering restrictions
Canadian Blood Services will soon refuse blood donations from those who have travelled to countries where the mosquito-borne Zika virus has become widespread. (File image)
Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, January 28, 2016 2:06PM CST
TORONTO - Canadian Blood Services will soon refuse blood donations from those who have travelled to countries where the mosquito-borne Zika virus has become widespread.
Chief medical and scientific officer Dr. Dana Devine says the blood collection agency will decide in the next few days which travel destinations would be linked to a temporary ban on donating blood.
Devine says the risk of the Zika virus being transmitted through blood transfusion is low, but Canadian Blood Services doesn't want to take any chances.
The agency already prohibits Canadians who have travelled to countries where malaria is endemic from donating blood for a period of 12 months.
The deferral period following travel to a Zika-endemic region would be much shorter -- likely measured in weeks -- as the virus stays in the body for a much shorter amount of time than malaria does.
Devine says the organization is in the midst of deciding how long the deferral should be.