Montreal

Zika virus: Héma-Québec imposes 21-day ban

People who have travelled to countries outside the continental U.S. and Europe will not be able to give blood within 21 days of their return, Héma-Québec has announced.

Blood supply managers say it will only affect 2% of donors in Quebec

The new measure is meant to protect Quebec's blood supply not only from the Zika virus and others. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

People who have travelled to countries outside the continental U.S. and Europe will not be able to give blood within 21 days of their return, Héma-Québec has announced.

The new measure is meant to protect Quebec's blood supply not only from the Zika virus, but also other surging diseases like Dengue fever and Chikungunya, the non-profit said.

Héma-Quebec already had a 30-day moratorium on blood donors who travelled to a country with a Zika virus problem. The new regulation replaces that. (CBC)
The viruses for these diseases can remain in the blood for several days after returning from a trip. Although these diseases are transmitted primarily by mosquito, they can also be spread by blood.

Héma-Québec says this will only affect two per cent of donors in the province and should not adversely affect the blood supply.

This new measure replaces the one enacted on Jan. 29, which asked donors who travelled to high-risk zones for the Zika virus to wait 30 days before giving blood.

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