Puerto Rico Receives First Batch of Safe US Blood Amid Zika Virus Outbreak
Puerto Rico received a Zika virus-free blood supply from the United States as the country struggles to stop the outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus.
The American government will be shipping blood to the Zika-stricken country to help impede the spread of the virus that reached Puerto Rican soil early this year.
According to an official statement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), one of the possible means of spreading the virus is by the transfusion of blood, which is "based on the most current scientific evidence of how Zika virus and similar viruses (flaviviruses) are spread."
Clean Blood Products
Since health experts have yet to discover a means "to screen for infection or reduce pathogens," the United States government has decided to remove the possibility of infection via blood transfusion by sending clean blood to Puerto Rico.
"Availability of safe blood products for the residents of Puerto Rico is a major priority for HHS. We are arranging the importation of blood products from areas unaffected by local Zika transmission to ensure the safety of Puerto Rico's blood supply," said HHS acting assistant secretary for health Dr. Karen B. DeSalvo.
Blood products will be provided to the country's existing blood collection centers from the Blood Centers of America, the American Red Cross and America's Blood Centers.
The first batch of clean blood was already been delivered to the country on March 5.
The HHS announcement also revealed that the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration has already submitted an emergency funding request worth $1.9 billion to the Congress that would cover speedy blood donor screening tests, additional pathogen reduction technology and other potential therapies.
Zika Virus Outbreak Update
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided all known facts about the Zika virus as well as possibilities that should be taken into account via their official website.
The listed facts include the symptoms such as joint pain, fever, rash and red eyes as well as states and territories that reported confirmed Zika cases.
It also revealed that the virus is commonly transmitted by mosquitoes under the Aedes family.
However, among the things that have yet to be proven by scientific evidence but should be taken into account is the possibility that the virus can be spread via blood transfusion and sexual contact, as stated by CDC.
Zika has also been believed to have adverse effects on pregnant women and their unborn children per an escalated microcephaly incident recorded in Brazil in 2015, the National Geographic noted.
The World Health Organization has already declared the outbreak as a public health emergency and is working with health experts and organizations to devise a treatment or immunization against the spreading virus.
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