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Blood donations now being tested for Zika

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Posted at 4:56 PM, Jul 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-29 16:56:48-04

At a time when the need for blood is critical, there is now extra emphasis on testing donations for Zika.

The Food and Drug Administration has asked blood donation centers in Miami-Dade and Broward to test all blood for the mosquito-borne virus.

"When the FDA asked to have testing begin we were ahead of the game because we had already started this process," OneBlood spokeswoman Susan Forbes said.

At South Florida’s primary blood donation center, OneBlood, donations are now being tested at their St. Petersburg Lab. As a precaution, they are also testing donations from Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.

"The testing takes place while the blood is being processed and our biologics department is basically waiting for the test results to be relayed to them before its sent off.”

The testing machine, now working around the clock, can process more than 3,000 samples a day.

Friday, Governor Rick Scott gave OneBlood $620,000 to keep up with the response.

“The state is prepared and we’ve been prepared," Governor Rick Scott said.

The swift action sat well with those donating Friday; they say people should feel comfortable that any blood they’re receiving will be safe and Zika free.

OneBlood says because of other mosquito-borne diseases they must always remain ahead of the game.

Forbes cited the 2013 dengue fever outbreak in Rio, as just one of the instances they prepared for.

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