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United Blood Services Reporting Shortage of Donations

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MCALLEN--United Blood Services in Mcallen says there is a shortage of donations.
     The blood bank says this is due to people not knowing a ban on blood donations from those who traveled to zika-infected areas was lifted.
     Last year, those who traveled to a country with local zika cases like Mexico could not give blood. Local blood banks couldn't test for zika back then. The rule was lifted three months ago now that blood banks can test on their own.
     Jim Frederick is a regular donor. He couldn't donate blood last year because he traveled to Mexico.
      "I was disappointed because she just said if you've been to Mexico you can't do it," Frederick said.
     Frederick just learned the rule was lifted. When the announcement was made, Frederick was up north and didn't know about the rule.
     United Blood Services in Mcallen says they are hearing similar stories from other winter Texans. Regional director Frank Esparza says this lack of knowledge is having an impact on donations.
       "I think generally if today the message gets out that it's not a problem if you've been into Mexico this would be great," Esparza said.
      Esparza says this winter they are on average about 100 units of blood less then where they should be. He thinks if they get the word out to other winter Texans then they might be able to bounce back.
     "We're encouraging winter Texans to come in doesn't matter if they still feel that they can't donate, they can donate now the travel issue is not a factor," Esparza said.

If you want to donate blood, you can go to the following locations:
Harlingen
United Blood Services
610 Ed Carry Dr.
Harlingen, TX  78550
(956) 216-8080
 
McAllen
United Blood Services
1400 S. 6th St.
McAllen, TX  78501
(956) 213-7500

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