Fears over the mosquito borne Zika virus could stop some Mississippians from donating blood. As MPB's Maura Moed reports, blood banks are taking precautionary measures.
The Food and Drug Administration is recommending blood donations be refused from people who have traveled to countries in the past 4 weeks where the Zika virus is active.
Merle Eldridge is with the Mississippi Blood Services. She says although there is no donor screening test for Zika, it is still safe for people to give blood.
"We want to make sure that the fear that's associated with any type of virus that hits the media like this doesn't prevent people from coming in and donating. We're going to make sure that every step is taken to ensure that when they come and donate, it's one of the safest things they can do," says Eldridge.
Eldridge says all donors with MBS are given a form prior to giving blood. This helps assist them in understanding when to self-defer, meaning to not donate. After a donation, another form is given - listing signs and symptoms so they can know if and when they may need to contact MBS.
Edward Gibson is an avid blood donor who says the thought of the virus made him a little reluctant. However, he says he's sure blood banks in the state will take necessary safety measures.
"It makes you hesitant, and it puts you on the fence a little. Sometimes, you'll be like 'Do I really want to take that risk?' But as long as you can see them doing everything they can, you'll be alright," says Gibson.
Although FDA officials say there's no reports of Zika entering the U.S. blood supply, transmission through blood is a real possibility. The agency is also recommending establishments turn away donors who may have had sexual contact with someone who has traveled to a Zika-affected country in the last three months.