"In June 2003 we were the first in the country to go live with the test and now we're one of the first to go live for individual testing," says Diane Janowiak with the South Bend Medical Foundation.
Most labs test in groups, where six different donors have their blood pooled and tested.
"The unfortunate part about that is once you determine a positive pool it could be too late.Those donors that come in with low vicemic loads of West Nile can potentially be missed when you have pools of 6.By us being able to pool individual pools we'll be able to pick it up," says Janowiak
If West Nile is not picked up, it can be transmitted during a blood transfusion.
Most labs don't have the equipment nor staff to do individual testing. Janowiak
says, "We are one of the only sites in the country to do that and it amounts to a safer blood supply."