Bethesda, Md. – The AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism has determined that, at this time, the current blood supply in the United States is adequate to meet the transfusion needs of hospital patients in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands and Marshall Islands. In order to mitigate the risk of transfusion-transmission of Zika virus (ZIKV), the FDA has recommended that local blood donations in U.S. territories with active ZIKV transmission be curtailed until a screening test or pathogen reduction technology is available in these areas. In response, blood centers in the continental U.S. are providing hospitals and blood centers in the aforementioned territories with blood products.
“Continental U.S. blood banks have enough blood to meet the needs of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands and Marshall Islands until a proper screening test for Zika virus or pathogen reduction technology is in place in these areas,” said Dennis Todd, PhD, chair of the task force. “The blood community is committed to ensuring a coordinated response to U.S. territories with active transmission of Zika virus, and will continue to provide updates should additional blood supplies be required.”
At this time, there is no urgent call for increased donations on behalf of the U.S territories. However, individuals with type O blood are always needed. Type O blood can be safely transfused to most patients with other blood types and is frequently used in emergency situations. The task force applauds those who wish to help and encourages all eligible individuals to schedule appointments to donate blood regularly to help ensure that blood is available whenever and wherever it is needed.
Those interested in donating blood may contact the following organizations to find a local blood collection site and to schedule an appointment:
The task force was formed in January 2002 to help make certain that blood collection efforts resulting from domestic emergencies and acts of terrorism are managed properly and to deliver clear and consistent messages to the public regarding the status of America’s blood supply. The task force is composed of representatives from U.S. blood services, associations and commercial entities, as well as liaisons from governmental agencies, who work together in an effort to ensure that safe and adequate blood product inventories are in place at all times in preparation for disasters. In addition, the task force operates as a mechanism to assess the need for collections and/or transportation of blood should a disaster occur.
AABB serves as the designated coordinating entity for the task force. In addition to AABB, members include AdvaMed, America's Blood Centers, American Association of Tissue Banks, American Hospital Association, American Red Cross, Blood Centers of America, College of American Pathologists, National Marrow Donor Program and the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association. Liaisons from the following government agencies also participate in task force discussions: Armed Services Blood Program and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration.
In the event of an emergency, AABB immediately convenes a meeting of task force representatives. Local blood center(s) are responsible for ascertaining medical needs based on casualty estimates using pre-determined formulas, assessing available local supply, and communicating that information to the interorganizational task force.
In an emergency, the first priorities of the task force are to:
- Verify and communicate to the blood community the medical need for blood;
- Identify sites with existing excess blood inventory;
- Determine the need, if any, for blood shipment and the logistics of such shipments; and
- Develop public messages and facilitate the discussion of donor issues.
AABB is an international, not-for-profit association representing individuals and institutions involved in transfusion medicine, cellular therapies and patient blood management. The association is committed to improving health by developing and delivering standards, accreditation and educational programs that focus on optimizing patient and donor care and safety. AABB membership consists of nearly 1,500 institutions and 7,500 individuals, including physicians, nurses, scientists, researchers, administrators, medical technologists and other health care providers. Members are located in more than 80 countries. For more information, visit www.aabb.org.