Zika in Florida – FDA is Shutting Down Blood Collection

Zika Fears Force Counties in Florida to Discontinue Blood Donations

The FDA or the Food and Drug Administration has requested two counties in Florida to discontinue blood donation. FDA has done this fearing the virus. The counties that have been ordered complete discontinuation of blood donations are Broward County and Miami-Dade County.

The FDA wants these countries to examine donations for the virus. Following this, blood collections have stopped in these Florida counties. The process will be discontinued until all the individual blood donations are tested for Zika virus.

The FDA said that it was taking this major precaution because of a valid reason. The FDA posted this statement on its proprietary website on Wednesday. It has done this because both the countries are widely investigating four Zika virus cases. These cases of the virus do not have any connection with traveling.

They are the very first examples of transmission through mosquitoes in the US. The FDA suggested that two counties in South Florida stop blood donations until each donation can be tested for Zika. The agency suggested that donations can be stopped until they make use of an approved method of inactivating the virus.

FDA also suggested that nearby and adjacent counties apply the precautions. The agency also suggested deferring the people who have been to Broward or Miami-Dade Counties in the earlier four weeks. This goes to the blood collection agencies located outside the area.

Reports by CDC

The blood banks located in both the countries are scheduled to start with Zika testing on 1st August. This report came from the Miami Herald. Specialists said that they were looking forward to virus transmission within the continental US this summer. 1658 virus cases have been in the United States and 4750 cases in the US Territories.

These reports have come on 27th July from the likes of the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention. In spite of the Zika concerns of Florida, the CDC on Thursday said something very shocking. They said that they South Florida will not be added to the list of the restricted areas for all pregnant women.

What is Zika?

Zika is basically a virus that spreads by way of mosquitoes. It can result in birth defects if by chance women are pregnant while having this virus. Zika is also associated with many other autoimmune and brain problems. These include Guillain-Barre syndrome. This is a type of disorder resulting in complete nerve damage. This virus generally spreads through mosquitoes. However, there are rare cases of this virus spreading through sexual transmission. As per orders, surveillance officers will visit door-to-door for collecting samples.

This way they will offer proper information about the Zika virus. According to studies, nearly 15 of over 1400 Zika virus cases reported in the US involved sexual transmission. For confirming local transmission, the disease detectives need to carry out surveys.

The surveys should be in the areas within a 150-yard radius around the person living with Zika. This will comprise the flying range of mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that causes fever, rash, and aches for a few days. These can be taken as the main symptoms of Zika virus. However, When Zika affects a pregnant woman, the virus takes some time to pass from the mother to the fetus. When the virus infects pregnant women, it infects the fetus causing serious effects.

When a pregnant woman contracts Zika, it takes some amount of time for the virus to pass from mother to fetus.

Why Counties in South Florida?

For several months, reports have predicted Texas and Florida as the most at-risk area for Zika outbreaks. This point has been confirmed by the professionals serving the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Previous cases put forward some strong claims regarding South Florida in connection with the Zika virus. The reports confirm the point that previously South Florida has been the victim of similar virus outbreaks.

These include certain tropical viruses like dengue and Chikungunya. Till date, this year, 383 cases of Zika virus have been recorded in Florida. Out of these 55 cases involving pregnant women.

This is the time when local and state officials serving Florida are starting with some investigations. The investigations are aimed towards determining the real reason behind the transmission.

This report has come from a senior spokesperson from CDC in an email to the NewsHour. This authority has been working with local, territorial and state health personnel in preparing the possibilities of Zika in the US. Following the recommendations to blood banks in two Florida counties to stop donations, blood screening tests are on the way.

The use of blood screening tests is mandated by Celeste Philip at the blood banks. Celeste Philip is Florida’s Surgeon General.

The Authority behind the Orders

The orders of ceasing blood donations in two counties in South Florida have come from Peter Marks. Marks is the director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at FDA. He has suggested the blood banks in the counties and even neighboring countries to stop donations. He has also ordered the testing of each blood donation for the virus.

The Most Effective Drug for Fighting Zika

The most effective drug for fighting Zika might be approved and it might even be out there in the market. This is suggested by studies in this field. Different teams of researchers and scientists have come together in developing the right vaccine for the virus.

However, as per a new research, there is an existing drug that can stop this infection. The researchers have recognized that the tow dozen FDA-approved drugs possess the ability to block the Zika virus. These drugs can block the virus from infecting the human cells. These are drugs that treat cancers, depression, and infections.

They showed the capacity of preventing infections in certain cells associated with fetal issues in pregnant women. However, it is to be noted that this research is absolutely preliminary. It has no immediate implications for the people who want to protect themselves from Zika infection. The virus actually offers a list of different drugs that need to be studied further.

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