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Everything you need to know about the zika virus in South Florida.

FDA Puts Temporary Ban On All Blood Donations In Broward And Miami-Dade Counties Due To Zika Concern

OneBlood is the main blood donation center in Florida. They will start screening samples for the Zika Virus on Friday July 29.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a temporary ban on all blood collections in Broward and Miami Dade Counties that are not screened for the Zika Virus. 

The announcement comes a week after the Florida Health Department and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) launched investigations of four cases in Broward and Miami-Dade counties that could have been acquired by local mosquitoes.

In an effort to "help ensure the safety of the nation's blood supply," Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement that blood collections shouldn't resume in the area until the centers can test each incoming blood donation for Zika virus.

The agency suggested that neighboring counties do the same, and that at-risk counties across the U.S. screen donors before collecting blood.

Local hospitals in Miami-Dade and Broward counties issued statements indicating that they are monitoring the situation but do not expect that the ban will impact their operations. 
"At this point, we have not received any indication from OneBlood that this will reduce the volume of blood we receive and we do not anticipate it will impact operations at our hospitals,"  said Jennifer Mooney Piedra, director of Communications of Jackson Health System, in a statement issued on Thursday.

"Jackson Health System will begin using 100 percent Zika-tested blood as soon as the blood banks implement their new protocols,"  added the statement. 

"We do not anticipate any shortage at this time," said Lourdes Rodriguez-Barrera, manager of Corporate Communications for Memorial Healthcare System, on a statement. "Operations at our system’s six hospitals have not been disrupted by the temporary halt of blood collection in our area."  
"Administrators at Memorial Healthcare System have been actively monitoring the situation and remain in close contact with OneBlood, the system’s sole blood supplier," said the statement.  

OneBlood, the regional blood bank in the affected counties had announced that it will start screening all collected blood for the Zika virus beginning on Aug. 1.

Yet, after Thursday's FDA announcement, the blood bank said in a press release that it will begin screening blood as soon as Friday July, 29. 
Both the FDA and OneBlood point to the possibility of having locally acquired cases of Zika. In the event the current investigations prove to be true, OneBlood said it will bring in blood from unaffected areas to supply the region. 
OneBlood also said it will cease to collect blood from the impacted zip codes. 
The blood bank supplies donated blood to over 200 hospitals across Florida, as well hospitals in Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama. 
The FDA has not specified how long the temporary donation ban will last. 
NPR's Rae Ellen Bichel contributed to this report. 

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