Zika Virus

Stanford Blood Center now screens all blood collections for Zika virus under an Investigational New Drug (IND) protocol. Donors will no longer be deferred for travel to areas with Zika virus activity, or for sexual contact with a partner who has traveled to areas with Zika virus infection. However, if you have ever been diagnosed with Zika, you will still be permanently deferred from donating.


Zika Virus Update

Zika Virus Overview

Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes genus mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika virus infection are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika virus infection. Zika virus infection during pregnancy may cause severe fetal abnormalities, including microcephaly.

A frequently updated page on the Zika virus can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/

For information specific to California, visit: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Zika.aspx#


Zika Virus Transmission

Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (A. aegypti and A. albopictus). These are the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses. These mosquitoes have been detected in several California counties, but an Aedes mosquito can only transmit Zika virus after it bites a person who already has this virus in their blood. To date, there has been no local mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus in California. 

A mother already infected with Zika virus near the time of delivery can pass on the virus to her newborn around the time of birth, but this is rare. A mother can pass Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy. To date, there are no reports of infants contracting Zika virus through breastfeeding. Zika virus can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her partner.

As of June 15, 2017, there have not been any confirmed transmissions of Zika virus by blood transfusion in the United States. A few cases of Zika virus transmission by blood transfusion in Brazil has been reported. Mosquito-acquired transmission of Zika has been reported in the continental U.S. in parts of Florida and Texas. There have been no local mosquito-borne transmissions of Zika virus in California.


Testing for the Zika Virus

Stanford Blood Center now tests all blood we collect for Zika virus. Although we perform almost all of our donor screening testing in our own laboratory, the Zika test is being performed under IND (Investigational New Drug) research protocols. We will be partnering with a third party to perform the Zika testing. As this is a research protocol, we have updated some documents and processes, including the consent process for donors who are younger than 18 years of age.

Presenting donors will be asked to review and acknowledge a new Zika Virus Research Information sheet and Experimental Research Subjects Bill of Rights found here:

Form 05-F93 (Zika Virus Research Information sheet)
Form 05-F94 (Experimental Research Subjects Bill of Rights)

For donors under 18 years of age, a parent or guardian must review and acknowledge the new Zika Virus Research Information sheet above, as well as sign a consent form allowing for the Zika test to be performed on blood products donated by a minor prior to donation:

Form 05-FX1 (Consent for Minor to Donate Blood)


Last updated 03/31/17