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FDA Calls for Zika Testing of All Blood Donations

WASHINGTON—The Food and Drug Administration is calling for Zika testing of all donated blood and blood products nationwide as a preventive measure to help stem the spread of the virus.

“There is still much uncertainty regarding the nature and extent of Zika virus transmission,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

Last month, the FDA called on all blood centers in Miami-Dade County and Broward County in Florida to stop collecting blood until they can test all individual donations for the Zika virus.

Friday’s recommendation extends to blood donations across the U.S. The FDA and other federal agencies set the standards for blood donations.

Blood is one way the virus can spread, but Zika is most prominently caused by bites from certain mosquitoes. Sexual relations are another source of transmission. Zika is normally a fairly mild virus, but is greatly feared now because of its link to a birth defect called microcephaly.

That condition involves cognitive and other defects in children whose brains and skulls don’t develop normally. The virus spread...