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Thread: First-time blood donors, higher incidence of infectious diseases found

  1. #1

    First-time blood donors, higher incidence of infectious diseases found

    In today's New York Times... excerpted:


    Out to Do Good, Some First-Time Blood Donors Get Bad News


    After three days of watching endless loops of the World Trade Center towers collapsing on television, Kristina Lakey of Davison, Mich., decided she could not stand by any longer. She had to do something. So on Sept. 14, she recruited her sister, and they went to their church and donated blood.

    A month later, however, Ms. Lakey, a first-time donor, got an unpleasant surprise: a letter from the Red Cross informing her that her blood had not been accepted because it tested positive for hepatitis C. She said she had no idea how she might have contracted the virus.

    "I was shocked, and I was crushed," said Ms. Lakey, 19. "I was trying to do something good. This just seems unfair."

    Since Sept. 11, many more blood donors than usual have been given the unsettling news that they are carrying an infectious disease. "We've had to send many more letters," said Dr. Rebecca Haley, a senior medical officer for the American Red Cross in Washington.

    Like Ms. Lakey, many of those inspired to give blood were donating for the first time, and first-timers are more likely than repeat donors to test positive for blood-borne diseases, including hepatitis B and C, H.I.V. and syphilis. Experts estimate that 80 percent of donors are people who have donated before and have been screened for diseases. But in the weeks after Sept. 11, the proportion of first-time donors ballooned to 50 percent from the usual 20 percent.

  2. #2

    Tainted Blood

    Dr. Young,

    Recently I read an article about tainted blood which called my attention. I have put it on my Hepatitis C website.

    This is something that I believe we should all be aware of. It is one of the one reasons why I have tried to let others know about my own ongoing battle with the virus. There are so many people who have become infected with it and have no idea that they have it. I was very surprised to find out that I had been infected with it.

    The following is a quote from the report there:

    -- On May 19th, 1999, on the same night an office in Montreal was broken
    into and burglarized, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, a clinic was fire bombed. How
    could seemingly separate incidents in Quebec andArkansas be related? A
    message was delivered...the same message. Someone, somewhere is very
    concerned about an incredible scandal that most Americans know nothing
    about, but about which Canadians know only too well.

    This is a story about tainted blood collected from Arkansas inmates and
    sold to make a profit.......

    The title for this information is: Blood Trail Part I and 2

    It can be found at the following url: Information Index


  3. #3
    Raven, I want to first thank you for bringing the whole issue of hepatitis C to our attention over the past year. I learned much from your postings. It has certainly increased my awareness of the condition and how it might affect people with spinal cord injury.

    The concept that a significant fraction of our population became infected by this dreadful disease through blood transfusions, the fact that a majority of people with spinal cord injury have received blood transfusion, and the beginning of availability of treatments for the disease is, in my opinion, something that the SCI community should be aware of.

    Incidentally, there is also more than a passing interest in the effect of hepatitis on spinal cord injury. Lisa Schnell in Martin Schwab's laboratory reported several years ago a remarkable finding when she studied inflammation in rats that had an occult hepatitis infection (hepatitis can easily sweep a rodent colony and we spend a great deal of time and resources checking all our rats for viral infections before spinal cord injury) have a much more intense and prolonged inflammatory response in the injured spinal cord than normal. Many viruses also produce powerful antibody responses and there has long been a theory that such concomitant infections may stimulate beneficial or deleterious immune responses to spinal cord injury.

    How are you doing now with your therapy?


  4. #4

    Hep C and Veterans

    Veterans are amoung the highest risk groups in the USA for Hep C. The VA has mandated screening of all veterans who receive healthcare through the VA healthcare system annually for Hep C risk factors (blood transfusions prior to 1992, tatoos, IV drug use, cocaine use, blood exposure as a health care provider, blood exposure in combat, etc.) and to test those who have any risk factors. We have identified a number of unknown positive patients in my center, and there is now a Hep C clinic and team in addition to the HIV clinic/team at the VA medical center where I work. One of my SCI patients has had a liver transplant due to hep C caused liver failure and is fortunately now doing fairly well.

    I also have a number of nurse friends who have Hep C, probably from needle sticks years ago while on the job. This can be nearly impossible to document for worker's comp coverage.

    It is important for people with SCI to get tested if they have any risk factors as well.


  5. #5

    Hepatitis C Treatment Update

    Thank you Dr. Young for asking me about my treatment.

    The first weeks I was feeling some of the aches, tiredness and weakness of the side effects from the treatment. I felt that I could bear with them as long as I slept and also took some Tylenol(extra strength). About the fourth week of shots, I made an error in the dose I was supposed to inject myself with. At the time I was not sure if I was doing it correctly or not. It turned out that I gave myself a stronger dose. I had to deal with another symptom, a splitting headache that would not go away.

    About a week later I began to began to bleed while urinating. It became darker so I called my doctor. Was told to wait for a day or two and see if after drinking more fluids it would lessen. It did for one day then began again.

    My doctor ordered an agency to get a sample urine and sent it to the lab. The results showed an infection. They did a culture and he prescribed some levaquin for it. My medicaid would not cover it anymore so we got some samples of Cipro and I am now taking it for about 5 more days. It is 500mg 2x a day. Have been sleeping a lot but it is becoming better and I have been getting online for a longer time now.

    One thing I am now waiting for is the results for my blood tests. Will post them as soon as they let me know.


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