Zika Virus: Can It Be Transmitted Via Blood Transfusion?

Zika Virus: Can It Be Transmitted Via Blood Transfusion?

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Zika Virus
Source: Kateryna Kon

Undoubtedly, both experts and laymen alike are fearful about the Zika virus and the implications the spread of this viral disease can have for entire populations. Some experts have contemplated whether blood transfusions can facilitate the spread of the Zika virus. Unfortunately, an entire cluster of infections in the country of Brazil seem to show that the Zika virus indeed can be transmitted via blood transfusions.

Some doctors believe that two hospitalized patients were infected with the Zika virus, which is usually mosquito-borne, from a virus. According to a team led by Dr. Lara Motta of Rio de Janeiro’s Jose Alencar Gomes da Silva National Cancer Institute, the Zika virus can transmitted via blood platelet transfusions. Bryan Spencer from the American Red Cross of Massachusetts reported the same finding. Many physicians are in a state of panic due to these findings.

The researchers stated that the donor informed the local bank of the Zika virus symptoms he experienced two days after donating blood. These symptoms included joint pain, rash, and eye pain. Lab tests showed that his blood was contaminated with the virus.

Unfortunately, two patients had received the blood transfusions in the meantime. One patient was a 14-year-old girl with leukemia and the other patient was a 54-year-old woman with myelofibrosis, a bone marrow disorder. Doctors and loved ones feared that the two patients would come down with symptoms of the Zika virus. The Zika strains from the two recipients and the donor were a match, which supports the belief that the transfusion caused the two patients to get the Zika virus.

Fortunately, neither of the two patients who received the contaminated blood transfusions came down with any symptoms of the infection.