FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --As the mosquito-born Zika outbreak becomes a growing concern internationally the FDA is considering new blood donation guidelines. Blood collection agencies nationwide are already announcing their own.
Now that there are at least 50 cases in 13 US states the Zika virus is becoming a growing concern. Blood banks are now asking people who have traveled to areas prone to the virus to not donate for at least 28 days.
The effects of the Zika virus outbreak are already being felt in the US. Blood collection organizations have announced new donation guidelines. "We know people every day who leave this area and they travel to the Caribbean or Central or South America," said Leslie Botos, Central California Blood Center.
Blood banks are asking people to defer from donating blood for at least 28 days if they may have been in a country with the Zika virus. "The incubation period for this virus is generally about a week," said Botos.
Botos said it's a temporary deferral but critically important. "You know, this is a really frightening virus when you think about where it is, an endemic, and for what we have scheduled in the world in the very near future."
As for worrying about the mosquito-born virus coming to the Central Valley, Health Department officials said it would take about 100 people who are infected landing together at the Fresno airport to start a local epidemic. "Less than that you don't see local transmission, but once it's here it could be here for the whole summer and then it might disappear in the winter, and then, if we get more travelers it can resurge," said Dr. Jared Rutledge, Fresno County Health Department.
Dr. Rutledge said in winter months mosquitos aren't as active so there isn't a need to worry-- only to be cautious. "As things heat up, and we have increased travel from these areas, yes, always be cognoscente-- be aware of mosquito bites."
Right now, the county health department is only testing pregnant women who've been to the affected areas, like Central and South America and are feeling symptoms like rash and fever.
As the government scrambles to create a vaccine health officials said prevention is the best course of action.
Health officials also said if you're traveling to Zika-prone areas, and are worried about bringing it back, apply insect repellent for 14 days after you land to not infect our local species.