SAN ANTONIO -- The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is issuing a major public health alert as the Zika virus threatens the local blood supply.
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
But in the last few weeks, blood centers have had to turn donors away.
Because Zika is transmitted through blood and sexually, the FDA mandates all travelers to Zika-affected areas such as Mexico postpone donations by 28 days.
"It's a big impact on our supply and the availability of blood for people who are sick, going through chemotherapy, and people who are injured," said South Texas Blood and Tissue Spokesperson Julie Vera. "We're already seeing the impact in Laredo, Eagle Pass and Del Rio. People who have always donated blood we have to defer even if they only went to Mexico for a day."
With mosquito season approaching, officials predict it's only a matter of time before there's a locally transmitted case, meaning it's possible all blood donations from the area would have to be postponed.
"We could be looking at some empty blood shelves or really sparse blood shelves in the summer months," said Vera.
If you want to donate blood, call (210) 731-5590 to schedule an appointment or go here.