New Requirement for Blood Donors

The Red Cross Bloodmobile outside the Penguin Union Building. The Red Cross Bloodmobile sat outside PUB on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The next blood drive at Clark will be June 3 with Bloodworks NW. (Photo credit: Wanda McNealy / the Independent)

The American Red Cross Bloodmobile sat in front of the PUB on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for its regular bimonthly collection.

The Bloodmobile accepts donors who are at least 110 pounds, 17 years old and are in good health. But this time, there was another restriction on donors; they needed to have not left the country within the last three weeks.

Volunteer Donna Warren said the Red Cross needs to be careful because of the Zika virus outbreak.

Zika, which first broke out in Brazil last May, is a mosquito-borne virus known to cause birth defects. The CDC reported 508 cases of Zika in the U.S. as of May 11, all travel-associated.

Zika can be transmitted through Aedes mosquito bites as well as sexually. Washington has only two recorded incidents, according to the CDC website.

A statement by the Red Cross on March 14 said they have added questions to their health history questionnaire, concerning travel and living history in areas of heavy Zika outbreaks.

Warren, who has been volunteering with the Red Cross for 10 years, said she hopes this will not discourage students, because “there is always a large need for blood.”
Someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds, according to Warren, and a single blood donation can save three lives. One car accident victim can need an average of 100 pints of blood, according to the Red Cross website.

The Red Cross comes to Clark’s main campus every other month. On months they do not visit, Bloodworks NW visits instead, said Marianne Luther, Clark Counseling and Health Center program coordinator.

“We want to provide many opportunities for students, staff and faculty to donate,” Luther said.

Wednesday’s Bloodmobile drive ended with 33 pints of blood, potentially saving 99 lives, Warren said.

“We usually get around 30 donations per blood drive, so today is a good day,” Warren said.

The blood donations go to a lab in Portland. The Red Cross has been collecting blood since 1941 during WWII for the U.S. military.

The next blood drive will be June 3-4 and hosted by Bloodworks NW.

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