Physicians Support Temporary Blood Donor Ban

Published: Fri 22 Sep 2000 10:50 AM
Physicians Support Temporary Blood Donor Ban
The Royal Australiasian College Of Physicians
Canberra 21st September 2000 /MediaNet International-AsiaNet/ The Royal Australasian College of Physicians has supported the
decision by Australian Health Ministers to suspend taking blood
donations from people who have spent six months or more in the UK during 1980 and 1996 because of concerns about the possible
transmission of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) from
infected with BSE, commonly known as "mad cow" disease.
However, Dr Robin Mortimer, Deputy President of the College,
warned today that the measure should be phased in over a number of months to avoid shortages of blood for medical procedures.
"Australia is taking this precautionary action to minimise the risk of contamination to our blood supply, however remote that may be," he said.
"However this action if undertaken in haste could result in a very real risk to blood supply.
"In all other countries where donor deferral has occurred,
including New Zealand most recently, blood banks were given time to put in place strategies to replace the lost donors.
"In Australia this is will be crucial as around 30,000 donors are expected to be lost."
Media inquiries: Dr Robin Mortimer, +61 7 36 36 8082.

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