After staving off zika virus for the longest time, India fell prey to the deadly infection in October, when an elderly woman was diagnosed with the infection in Jaipur, Rajasthan. According to a report by The Times of India, blood banks across Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have been asked to boost screening or donors since the Zika virus can be passed on through infected blood.
The TOI report states that the National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC) has insisted on adhering to the donor-selection criteria, which includes obtaining a detailed history of travelling. The council has directed anyone who has visited Zika-affected areas to not donate blood for a total of four months. They have to wait for a total of two weeks before donating before the donor happens to be recovering from any acute viral infection or has just discontinued the use of medicines. Donors should be free of any disease symptoms before they start donating.
The NBTC issued a circular, asking donors to be alert. In case they develop any symptoms of the disease two weeks after they donated, they are supposed to notify the blood bank immediately. NBTC director Dr Shobini Rajan has clarified that no cases of donor-related infection has been recorded in the country and the circular was just a precautionary measure.
What Is Zika?
The Zika virus is a pathogen that is transmitted through the bite of the Aedes mosquito. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause birth defects in the foetus, commonly resulting in an abnormality called microcephaly. Other problems such as miscarriages, stillbirths and other birth defects are also caused by the virus. A rare sickness of the nervous system, Guillain-Barré syndrome, has also been seen in areas affected by the Zika virus.