The global outbreak of the Zika virus means a temporary delay for some travellers who want to donate blood.
Canadian Blood Services says anyone heading outside of Canada, the U.S., and Europe will have to wait three weeks to give blood.
The new rule, which will also apply to cord blood and stem cells, will take affect across Canada on Friday.
Blood Services Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dana Devine says this will not be a temporary measure.
“We expect the measure to be in place permanently. If one looks at the rapid progression of the Zika virus it is all over large parts of the world and so we don’t anticipate lifting the request that delay but that it just becomes part of our routine practices as blood donors that we wait for a little while after we have been traveling somewhere.”
Despite a confirmed case of sexual transmission of the virus Devine says the delay won’t apply to the partners of travellers.
“In our initial risk assessment we did not deem that there was a significant risk of transmission through sexual mode and so we have not proposed at this point in time to ask the sexual partners of people who have been travelling to defer from donating blood.”
The delay is to allow for the virus to work its way out of a person’s system, preventing infection within the blood supply.
The World Health Organization has declared the mosquito-borne virus outbreak a global emergency.