The Food and Drug Administration yesterday issued recommendations for blood donor screening and deferral to reduce the risk of transmitting Zika virus through transfusions. In areas without active Zika virus transmission, FDA recommends deferring from blood donation people who have had Zika-like symptoms in the past four weeks; sexual contact with someone who has traveled to or lived in an area with active Zika virus transmission in the past three months; or traveled to areas with active transmission in the past four weeks. FDA recommends that whole blood and blood components for transfusion be obtained from areas of the U.S. without active transmission. As of Feb. 10, local transmission of Zika virus had been reported in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The World Health Organization yesterday released a plan to guide the international response to the spread of Zika, which may be linked to birth defects such as microcephaly. Until more is known, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly advises pregnant women to consider postponing travel to Zika-affected areas, or talk to their health care provider and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip. For more information, visit and In addition, a new CDC microsite allows stakeholders to easily share CDC information about Zika on their own websites.