A recent government recommendation for the testing of the Zika virus in blood is creating a severe blood shortage, and the Central California Blood Center is asking people to donate.
Beginning Sept. 23, 11 western states including California began testing every unit of blood for the presence of the virus, which can cause severe birth defects. The Central California Blood Center implemented the testing procedure ahead of the deadline, but is anticipating logistical delays in the next 30 days. At the same time, patient need from local hospitals and trauma centers has severely depleted the Valley’s blood supply leading to a severe shortage.
The supply of O negative blood type in particular has dropped to the critical level for patients in the Valley’s 31 hospitals that receive blood from the blood center. Other blood types are very low, as well. The Central California Blood Center said Friday there’s a critical need for immediate donations at donor centers in Visalia and Fresno..
Blood centers across the country are experiencing blood shortages with blood donation lower by as much as 40 percent in some areas.