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Positive West Nile virus test at Coffee Memorial

Amarillo, TX - Our local blood center is being proactive in helping stop the spread of the West Nile virus.

Coffee Memorial Blood Center covers 29 counties and 31 medical facilities throughout the panhandle, they found out on Friday they had their first positive screening test for West Nile.

The Amarillo resident has already been notified.

As they were donating blood to help save the lives of others, it may have helped save their own.

"Do you want somebody to donate or get scared about it? Just think about it. Always think of it in the receiving end," says Nathan Harring, blood donor.

Nathan Harring has been donating blood for several years, he says finding out the blood center had a positive screening test won't scare him away.

"I think it's great that they're testing for it because you don't want somebody to get sick and die from it," says Nathan Harring, blood donor.

Coffee Memorial says when a donor comes in their blood is tested for 13 diseases, including West Nile.

"During West Nile season, when the first case appears in our region, we stop doing the pool tests and we test each donor individually to start with. The reason for that is so we can pick them up quicker and don't have to sort it out of that pool," says Joe McCormick, Coffee Memorial Blood Center. 

Results come back within 24-hours.

A positive test means individualized screenings in our area for West Nile will continue indefinitely.

The blood center wants to remind donors they ensure safety during a situation like this.

"Once that blood comes back positive for West Nile, it goes from the donors arm into the tube, into the bag and it's not present anywhere. That blood is never opened. It's quarantined, it's discarded so it's never in with the regular blood supply. There's no threat of it contaminating the blood supply. I just want to ease people's fears," says Suzanne Talley, Coffee Memorial Blood Center.

Although this is a positive screening test, it still has to be confirmed by a doctor.

Amarillo's Department of Public Health tells us as of today, we have 12 confirmed cases of West Nile virus in our area.

11 in Randall County and one in Potter County.

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