New FDA Guidelines Aim to Prevent Zika Virus Transmission
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new recommendations to reduce the risk of Zika virus transmission through donated human tissues and other cells. That includes corneas, bone, skin, heart valves, as well as amniotic membrane, placentas, umbilical cord blood and semen. The safety measures address donations from both living and deceased donors.
The new guidelines says living donors of these specific bodily products should be considered ineligible if they were diagnosed with Zika virus infection, were in an area with active Zika virus transmission or had sex with a male with either of those risk factors, within the past six months. Donors of umbilical cord blood, placenta or other gestational tissues should be considered ineligible if they have any risk factors during their pregnancy.
The FDA says deceased donors should be considered ineligible to donate if they were diagnosed with Zika virus infection in the past six months. Experts selected the six-month time period, but say that time period may change as more is learned about the virus.
The FDA has also recommended that blood establishments defer blood donations from individuals if they have been to areas with active Zika virus transmission, potentially have been exposed to the virus or have a confirmed Zika virus infection.
The Zika virus spreads primarily by mosquitoes beyond U.S. borders. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the virus can spread by a man to his sexual partners. To date, there has been several sexual transmissions in the U.S. Researchers are also investigating the suspected link between Zika and a birth defect in babies born to infected mothers.