The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended on Tuesday that blood should no longer be collected from regions where the Zika virus is circulating, and that blood needed for transfusions be obtained from areas of the country without active transmission.
The agency said blood banks can continue collecting and preparing platelets and plasma if an FDA-approved pathogen-reduction technology is used. Current pathogen-reduction technology is not approved to treat whole red blood, which is used for most transfusions.
The guidelines come as Zika is spreading rapidly through the Americas, with more than 30 affected countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The virus has been linked to a spike in cases of a rare birth defect known as microcephaly in Brazil, prompting health officials to declare a global health emergency.