Posted: February 4, 2016
Updated: May 12, 2016
The Zika Virus continues to be of great concern to those pregnant or trying to conceive, and individuals traveling outside of the United States. Xytex continues to stay abreast with areas who have reported active Zika Virus transmission to ensure we follow the precautionary and travel recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
At Xytex we continue to take every precaution to ensure our clients receive the best quality gametes. In doing so, we ask that donors review the most current list of affected countries and territories provided by the CDC before each visit, and we also prescreen donors upon arrival. We request that donors notify our team if they have traveled outside of the United States and visited one of the affected countries or territories in the past 6 months, currently noted by the CDC. If a donor has indeed visited one of the regions with active Zika Virus transmission, he is unable to donate for 6 months, as recommended by the CDC.
For an up-to-date list of countries and territories with active Zika Virus transmission, visit the CDC website – http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/active-countries.html. For more information on our current screening process, call 800.277.3210.
Xytex’s Response to the Zika Virus
Posted February 4, 2016
You have heard it all over the news, but you think it doesn’t affect you. Think again. If you have been traveling to certain areas of the world – many of them popular vacation destinations – you should read on.
“Donors who have traveled to a country or territory designated by the CDC as an area of active Zika virus transmission within the prior 28 days will not be allowed to donate. This procedure is in line with that being followed by the American Red Cross for blood donors.”
J. Todd Spradlin, M.D., Chief Medical Director for Xytex
At Xytex, we are taking every precaution to ensure our clients get the best quality human gametes. For this reason, we are following the recommendations of the American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control in regards to the Zika virus. Please review the list of countries with active Zika outbreaks at the end of this article if you have traveled outside the United States in the last month.
What is the Zika Virus?
The Zika virus is a mild illness spread through a mosquito bite. It can cause fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis lasting from just a few days to a week. Not too bad for a grown adult. Cases requiring hospitalization are not a common occurrence.
There have also been recent reports of the virus being spread through blood transfusions and sexual contact. Only 1 in 5 people who contract the Zika virus will get sick. For this reason, it is important to follow a few precautions. All precaution and travel recommendations are directly from the CDC.
• Avoid mosquito bites
• Mosquitoes that spread Zika are daytime biters, take extra precautions to avoid daytime mosquito bites
When traveling to areas with Zika:
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
• Stay indoors where there is air conditioning or screens on windows
• Sleep under mosquito netting if you cannot be indoors
• Use EPA-registered insect repellents (if using sunscreen apply that first, then bug spray)
• Cover cribs, strollers, and baby carriers with mosquito netting
• Treat clothing and gear with permethrin
Despite precautions, if you still become infected with the Zika virus it remains present in your blood for the next week. Avoid mosquito bites to limit the number of mosquitoes carrying the virus around. If they bite you during this period and then bite someone else, they may spread the disease further.
There have also been links to the spread of Zika virus through sexual contact. It is best to avoid sexual contact for 30 days if you have traveled to a Zika infected area.
Zika and Pregnancy
Women infected with the Zika virus while pregnant can pass the virus to their unborn baby. The virus has been shown to cause microcephaly in unborn babies and these pregnancies have had poor outcomes.
Microcephaly is a birth defect in which the baby’s head is smaller than normal. This also causes the baby’s brain to be smaller and not develop properly. Babies with microcephaly can have seizures, developmental delay, intellectual disability, problems with movement and balance, difficulty swallowing, hearing loss, and vision problems. Sometimes complications from microcephaly are fatal.
According to the CDC, women who are pregnant, think they may become pregnant, or are trying to conceive should avoid travel to Zika infected areas.
Zika virus outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In 2015, an outbreak of Zika spread across Brazil. Since then, there have been reported outbreaks in many countries including Barbados, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St. Martin, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A complete list and area map of locations with active Zika outbreaks are listed below.
• Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, US territory
• Costa Rica
• Dominican Republic
• El Salvador
• French Guiana
• Saint Martin
• U.S. Virgin Islands
• American Samoa
• Cape Verde
Take extra precautions when traveling to Zika infected areas, take necessary precautions when you return, and do all you can to avoid mosquito bites. We will keep you posted on new developments and information as it becomes available.