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Red Cross Statement on Zika Virus in Florida

The following statement regarding non-travel related cases of Zika virus in Florida may be attributed to Dr. Susan Stramer, vice president of Scientific Affairs at the American Red Cross:

“The American Red Cross is dedicated to providing the safest, most reliable blood products possible to patients in need. The Red Cross does not collect blood in South Florida where a small number of mosquito-borne Zika cases have recently been confirmed. Following the advice of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, on August 1, the Red Cross will implement a donor deferral for those who have traveled to Miami-Dade County during the previous four weeks.

Earlier this summer, the Red Cross began blood donor testing for Zika virus under an investigational study in areas that are believed to be at greatest risk of local mosquito transmission of Zika virus in which our collections occur. These areas include the few locations where we collect blood in Northern Florida.

Last March, the Red Cross implemented the FDA guidance to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmission of Zika virus related to travel to active areas. Following the guidance, we added a specific question to our donor health history questionnaire concerning travel to or residence in areas with local Zika virus transmission and we continue to ask donors to self-defer, or postpone their blood donation for four weeks, if they are at risk of Zika virus exposure.

We continue to work closely with the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and AABB, our professional organization, to prepare for the potential spread of Zika virus by defining appropriate mitigation strategies.

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, and that need can only be met through the generosity of volunteer donors. Eligible individuals are encouraged to give blood or platelets.”

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.