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New Precautions Being Taken By Blood Centers In Effort To Prevent Zika's Spread

THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) - Blood centers in Colorado and across the country have been working to prevent the spread of the Zika virus. This week they learned of new measures in the donation process that need to be taken.

The action is a requirement from the Food and Drug Administration. It mandates that blood centers start testing for the virus, and have their processes in place within 12 weeks.

Bonfils Blood Center
(credit: CBS)

Before this week, only a few counties in Florida were required to test for it.

Bonfils Blood Center in Colorado is now making preparations.

"We want to ensure that the blood supply is as safe as possible, that's our No. 1 priority," said Liz Lambert, a spokeswoman for Bonfils.

Bonfils Blood Center
(credit: CBS)

Lambert said Bonfils should be in full compliance within the three months preparation period.

"It's going to take some time to ensure that we've got our Ts crossed and I's dotted," Lambert said.

For the past few months Bonfils has been not allowing anyone to donate who has traveled into known Zika zones, including the Caribbean, Mexico and areas in Florida. Before they donate, Bonfils donors are asked to read over literature which ask them questions about their recent travels, if they have done any.

"If they've been in any of these areas in the last 28 days they're not allowed to donate," Lambert said, referring to the list of banned travel areas.

There have been cases of Zika's spread in blood transfusions in Brazil.

Bonfils and other blood centers already test for hepatitis, HIV and other health hazards.

Earlier this week the state said 21 people in Colorado have contracted Zika. All of them got it while traveling to areas that have the virus present.

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