Zika virus leaves Indiana Blood Center 500 units short in May


By Mark Ambrogi

With travelers in areas affected by the Zika virus not permitted to donate blood for 28 days after their return to the U.S., the Indiana Blood Center is seeing an increase in travel deferrals that has left it approximately 500 units short in May.

“We also believe donors who have traveled are self-deferring, not even showing up to donate, because the deferral is so broad,” said Andrea Fagan, marketing director for the Indiana Blood Center. “Unlike malaria or some other travels, deferrals that are specific to regions of a country, Zika is a blanket deferral, all of Mexico, regardless of where you travel. Zika is a daytime-biting mosquito, as well. This means that if you were on a cruise ship passing through an area of active transmission, you are deferred. It’s a very broad deferral.”

The Zika deferral began Feb. 16. Fagan said being in the midst of long holiday weekend, it further weakens the supply as donors are doing other things.

To help with that, the organization gave away free Indy 500 Carb Day tickets to encourage donations.

“The need for blood is fairly constant, 550 donors are needed each day, and we have minimums and maximums for each type that we keep on our shelves in addition to that which we send to hospitals,” Fagan said.

For more on countries affected by Zika, visit cdc.gov/zika/geo/active-countries.html.

Visit the Bloodmobile

Upcoming donation sites for the Bloodmobile include:

  • 8 a.m. to noon June 2, 303 Congressional Blvd., Carmel (free donor T-shirt for participating)
  • 1:30 to 3 p.m. June 3, 12900 N. Meridian St., Carmel (free donor T-shirt for participating)
  • 2 to 6 p.m. June 7, Riverview Health, 395 Westfield Road, Noblesville
  • 9 a.m. to noon June 7, Westfield Police Dept., 17535 Dartown Road, Westfield

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