ORLANDO — OneBlood will start testing donated blood for the Zika virus on Aug. 1.

“With approval to begin using the investigational test granted, our immediate plan is to begin testing a portion of our collections for the Zika virus to allow hospitals to have access to Zika-screened blood products from unaffected areas to use with their high risk patients, such as pregnant women,” said Dr. Rita Reik, OneBlood’s chief medical officer.

“Hospitals that want Zika-screened products will request what they need on an on-demand basis. We will expand our inventory of Zika-screened blood based on hospital usage,” said Reik.

OneBlood remains in direct communication with the Florida Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration. OneBlood has been alerted about the suspected non-travel related Zika case currently under investigation in South Florida. In the event the case is confirmed, OneBlood would cease collections in the impacted zip code and bring in blood from unaffected areas to supply that region.

Additional proactive steps OneBlood implemented earlier this year to protect the local blood supply from the Zika virus remain in effect, including enacting additional donor deferral guidelines, updating the donor history questionnaire to include Zika specific questions and issuing educational materials to donors.

Go to https://www.oneblood.org/zika/ for a media toolkit and a behind-the-scenes tour of One Blood operations to see the technology that has been put in place to screen blood donations for the Zika virus.