Puerto Rico to buy Red Cross blood amid Zika concerns

AP News
Posted: Feb 18, 2016 11:18 AM

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico says it's buying blood from the Red Cross after the federal government said U.S. territories affected by the Zika virus should limit the use of locally donated blood.

Health Secretary Ana Rius said late Wednesday that blood from the Red Cross will be used immediately for pregnant women and babies who need it. She said the directive from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently applies to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa. The FDA recently recommended that U.S. blood banks refuse donations from people who have travelled to countries where the Zika virus is active.

Puerto Rico has more than 30 confirmed Zika cases. The virus is suspected of causing a birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads.