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Safety Rules May Cause Blood Shortages

Safety Rules May Cause Blood Shortages

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WASHINGTON, Jun 30, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A wave of new regulations that prohibit many categories of Americans from donating blood could result in major shortages as early as this weekend.

The Fourth of July holiday is usually a tough time for the nation's blood supply because donors go on holiday while accidents create more demand for blood.

However, this week, blood labs will start using a new, experimental test to detect West Nile virus in donated blood, USA Today reports.

They already test for HIV, a form of leukemia, hepatitis B and C and syphilis.

In addition, the list of questions about health, travel and sexual history that can disqualify donors has burgeoned to nearly 50, up from about 15 in the era before HIV.

Blood banks can't accept blood from people who spent time in England from 1980 to 1996 or from people who have returned from places affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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