World Blood Supply on the Verge of Collapse

Last year, just 4% of New Zealanders donated blood, leading the small nation to import blood products and export plasma to Australia for processing in order to secure the country's precarious blood supply, whose demands have grown 12% per year. New Zealand was already experiencing a plasma shortage last year, with many chronically and terminally-ill patients facing financial difficulties due to the price of blood transfusions, and that shortage menaces to be exacerbated by the current breakout of Zika virus on the American continent, a virus that could rampage in its current incarnation through nearly every country on earth where the Aedes aegypti mosquito propagates. 

Aedes aegypti mosquito operational range
Just yesterday, the United States decided to halt blood transfusions from people who have traveled to areas with Zika. Other developed nations are expected to follow suit, with Europe and East Asia soon treating blood donors who've traveled to Latin America with the same caution that is reserved for blood donors from Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Only Canada and Chile are predicted to remain fully free of Zika virus on the American continent, with Florida and other Southern parts of the US expected to be afflicted within the year. This essentially means that any pregnant woman in the United States who succumbs to hemorrhaging during child birth and needs a blood transfusion will be competing with the thousands of women who each year experience complications during childbirth in countries where Zika will spread. 

(A) Estimated use of red cell transfusion in developed countries. (B) Estimated use of red cell transfusion in developing countries. World Health Organization
Most blood transfusions in the developing world, in fact, stem from complications during pregnancy, the exact same countries where the price of blood untainted by Zika promises to skyrocket. The number of women who will die because of the oncoming onslaught of Zika-related cases threatens to be catastrophic, as before this current calamity the world saw "up to 150,000 pregnancy-related deaths each year."4,5

The number of pregnancy-related deaths is likely to multiply, and if predictions about the spread of the Zika virus are correct, 600,000 women could lose their lives to hemorrhaging next year as the blood supply dries up. The difficulties inherent in testing for Zika mean that most poor communities will be unable to afford testing locally -- it can cost 40 US dollars to test a unit of blood -- so a transfusion of tested, imported blood from an unaffected country may cost hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars in the coming panic; an astronomical price for most of the world's poor.

Experts have in the past proposed the strengthening of "national blood banks," and the spread of the Zika virus will likely see nations begin fierce blood hoarding as the realization sinks in that there is no vaccine and that an entire generation of humanity is at risk of being born with microcephaly. If Alabama is any indication, we may soon see prisoners, for national security reasons, being "encouraged" to donate blood on a consistent basis.

US President Barack Obama, for security reasons, always keeps bottles of his blood in the presidential limousine. This is in case that the ambulance which travels with the President's motorcade (there is always one,) gets cut off, indicating that there is even more blood in the ambulance.

If the situation continues deteriorating, we may soon see private blood banks become a standard part of home catastrophe preparedness kits, and hoarding could be penalized in the same way that gold was confiscated by the US government during The Great Depression. Priority will be given to pregnant women, so for everyone else that means that the coming global blood scarcity may see any traumatic blood loss lead to a slow, agonizing death.