NBTC to keep of travel history of donors, aim to contain spread of zika virus through blood transfusion

NBTC has now decided to keep a check on the blood donors as well, the reason being, even though the virus is a mosquito borne, it has the potential to infect a person via blood transfusion if the donor is already affected

pune Updated: Nov 26, 2018 16:35 IST
Nozia Sayyed
Nozia Sayyed
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Zika virus,blood donation
The national body has now directed all states to be cautious and to keep track of the travel history of the donor(HT FILE PHOTO)

With zika cases soaring in the country and having affected more than two states, the national blood transfusion council (NBTC) has now taken steps towards creating awareness regarding the spread of the infection. NBTC has now decided to keep a check on the blood donors as well, the reason being, even though the virus is a mosquito borne, it has the potential to infect a person via blood transfusion if the donor is already affected. Hence, the national body has now directed all states to be cautious and to keep track of the travel history of the donor.

Explaining more, Dr Shobhini Rajan, assistant director general, blood safety, NBTC and national aids control organisation (NACO) said, “Although zika is a mosquito borne infection, is known to be mostly asymptomatic, where patients fail to realise that they are infected and are carrying the virus. However, there are many who show the symptoms of the infection and need treatment. Hence an infected person must refrain from donating blood for at least 120 days.”

“In order to prevent the infection from spreading through blood transfusions and as a part of precautionary measures we have directed the states to be careful with people who express to donate blood or any other blood related components in terms of travel and case history. The directives include, one cannot donate if they travelled to any zika affected country for at least 120 days post return. This directive was circulated last year but we have now made additions to it and have emphasised that, if the donor has a travel history where he had visited states of zika affected areas, within the country he or she cannot donate blood for the next 120 days after his return” said Dr Rajan.

This directive has been sent to all the states and they have been asked to incorporate it in their routine checks when they get a blood donor, she explained.

On the same, Dr Dilip Wani, president, Maharashtra society of blood transfusion and immunohaematology council, said, “We are yet to receive any directive from the national body but we have been informed about such a discussion regarding circulation of such directives. We are expecting to receive the renewed guidelines soon.”

First Published: Nov 26, 2018 16:33 IST