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Memorial Blood Centers Implements FDA Requirements to Ensure a Continued Safe and Stable Blood Supply

December 19, 2016

(St. Paul, MN)—Memorial Blood Centers (MBC) is revising its testing and eligibility criteria to keep the blood center in line with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines and blood centers nationwide. These updates include Zika Virus testing and updates to the deferral guidelines for men who have sex with men.

Zika Virus
On August 26, the FDA advised all U.S. blood centers to begin testing all units of blood and blood products for the Zika virus by November 18. On November 14, MBC implemented Zika testing protocols with newly acquired equipment. All tests have been negative for the Zika virus. 

All U.S. blood centers are using a Zika virus screening test that is considered investigational, and which is recommended by the FDA for this purpose. Since the virus was first observed transmitting locally in certain areas of the country in January 2016, the FDA has requested that blood donors self-defer from donating for 28 days after travel to areas at risk for the Zika virus. Because of the new testing procedures, beginning December 19, 2016 donors will no longer be asked to self-defer from donating blood after travel to affected areas.

MSM Deferral

The FDA also revised its deferral criteria for men who have sex with men and who would like to donate blood. The FDA has lifted its previous indefinite deferral, and as of December 19, 2016, MBC has instituted a 12-month deferral for men who have sex men.

On December 19, MBC staff will begin reviewing its donor records for men who were previously deferred to determine their eligibility under the revised guidelines. Donors impacted by this change will receive a letter advising them of their eligibility to be re-evaluated using the new criteria, and will encourage them to review the donor health history questionnaire or speak with MBC staff. 

Holiday Need and Donor Promotions
The need for blood is great over holidays. During the month of December, all presenting donors will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a Polaris ATV. Additionally, from December 20–January 3 all presenting donors will receive a free long-sleeve shirt. 

About Memorial Blood Centers 
Memorial Blood Centers has been saving lives for over 65 years as an independent nonprofit supplying life-saving blood to area hospitals and other partners throughout the U.S. Operating 10 donor centers and conducting hundreds of blood drives each month, Memorial Blood Centers also provides comprehensive testing and expert technical services as a national leader in transfusion medicine. For more information, call 1-888-GIVE-BLD (1-888-448-3253) or visit MBC.ORG. Connect with us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.