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Red Cross Asks Americans Who Visit Zika Areas to Wait 28 Days to Donate Blood

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The American Red Cross has asked blood donors to wait 28 days after returning from regions affected by Zika before donating.

Though the organization called the risk of transmission extremely low, the group urged caution on those who have recently visited Central and South America, the Caribbean and Mexico, Reuters reports. If donors do give blood and subsequently show symptoms of the mosquito-borne virus, the Red Cross asks to be notified in order to quarantine possibly affected donations.

The World Health Organization declared the birth defects linked to Zika an international public health emergency on Monday after reports of the virus spreading throughout the Americas, corresponding with a spike in the birth defect microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads.


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