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PRC asks people who came from Zika-affected countries not to donate blood

By: - Reporter / @jovicyeeINQ
/ 12:44 AM February 03, 2016
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Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon. Aries Joseph Hegina/INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA — Individuals who recently visited Zika virus-affected countries and intend to donate blood would have to defer their plans for now to prevent any spread of the virus in the country, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) said.

PRC Chair Richard Gordon said late Monday afternoon that their decision not to accept blood donation from those who arrived from countries affected by the virus, such as Brazil and Colombia, has become one of the PRC’s precautions “to ensure the public’s safety.”

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“Currently, there is still no vaccine for the Zika virus, and once a person is infected by it, the virus remains in the bloodstream of the affected individual, which can potentially affect the blood situation in the country,” Gordon said in a statement.

Reportedly, pregnant women in Brazil affected by the virus give birth to children with defects such as abnormally small heads. Gordon said that complications in newborn babies “can be a lifelong disability that can stress the whole health system.”

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Currently, the Philippines remains to be Zika virus-free. To ensure that the virus would not spread in the country, Gordon said that the PRC would mount weekly information campaigns and cleanup drives in various communities nationwide.

Since the virus is carried by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which also causes dengue and chikunggunya, the PRC would be able to assess the effectivity of their campaign by checking the rate of dengue cases in the country.  SFM

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