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Tainted-Blood Warning Issued

February 01, 2003|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — Hospitals in Georgia and northern Florida were warned Friday to temporarily stop using some blood from the American Red Cross because it was feared to be contaminated by mysterious white particles.

The Red Cross reported that the particles are not infectious agents and that no harmful effects in patients have been reported.

The particles probably came from plastic bags in which the blood was collected, said Chris Hrouda, Red Cross chief executive for blood services in the South.

The Red Cross said that 110 of the approximately 4,000 units stored at its regional center have been found to be contaminated. But the agency was unable to say whether contaminated blood reached any of the more than 140 hospitals it supplies in Georgia and northern Florida.

Members of the Georgia Hospital Assn. were advised not to use the blood, forcing them to postpone elective surgery and use backup supplies of blood for emergencies.

The Red Cross said it is working with a maker of blood bags and the Food and Drug Administration to find out how the contamination happened.

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