A Davenport doctor is leading a national task force that’s dealing with the impact of the H1N1 flu on the nation’s blood supply. Doctor Louis Katz of the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center in Davenport says blood supplies around the country remain robust — but a survey shows that about one fourth of blood centers nationwide report reduced donations due to flu.
He says there are sometimes fewer donors than expected at a high school, colleges or business blood drives, and there’s been the cancellation of a few blood drives because of absenteeism from flu. Katz says more donors are calling this year after giving blood and reporting illnesses, so the blood must be thrown out. Katz says that’s a precaution blood centers take even though flu is not believed to be transmitted by blood.
“In all the years that blood transfusion and influenza have co-existed, more than 50 years, no one has ever alleged that flu was transmitted by transfusion,” Katz says. The task force is helping medical centers prepare to handle a possible blood shortage in the future if the flu outbreak gets worse.