Blood bank to start screening for Zika

Blood bank to start screening for Zika

By Janelle Guerrero-Miguel
HNN Summer Intern

The Blood Bank of Hawaii will soon start screening for the Zika virus.

Potential donors who've recently traveled to areas with Zika outbreaks will be ruled out for donation

And starting in September, the bank will begin a new clinical trial: Every blood sample will undergo a Zika test that isn't yet licensed for public use.

"The reason is because Hawaii is different," said Dr. Kim-Anh Nguyen, chief executive officer of the Blood Bank of Hawaii.

"Hawaii is in an area that already has dengue -- we know that. The same virus that transmits dengue transmits Zika. We also know that Zika virus is in the South Pacific, and how many Hawaii residents travel to and from the South Pacific?"

There have been isolated Zika cases in Hawaii, but they were contracted overseas.

Blood bank officials say we will likely see an outbreak here in the future -- and the new test will then be required by the FDA.

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