Blood collection agencies in Iowa and throughout the country are starting to screen donors who may have traveled to counties dealing with the SARS outbreak. The Blood Center of Iowa began asking new travel questions of donors on Monday. Christine Hays of the Blood Center of Iowa says if donors have been to a “high-risk SARS area” then they’ll be asked to wait 14 days, and come back to donate blood after that two-week period. Hays says they’re concerned, but don’t expect to be turning away many donors. There have been no reported cases of SARS being transmitted by blood transfusion, but researchers have not ruled out the possibility the virus could be transferred that way. Blood donors who’ve been to China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and Toronto, Canada are being asked to delay blood donation for 14 days to ensure they haven’t contracted the virus. According to Hays, only five percent of Iowans give blood on a regular basis.
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