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Swiss Red Cross says blood donations safer than ever

The Swiss Red Cross says blood transfusions in Switzerland are safer than ever before. Launching a campaign to attract new donors, officials said no case of tainted blood transfusions had been registered for the past three years.

This content was published on April 7, 2000 - 22:43

The Swiss Red Cross says blood transfusions in Switzerland are safer than ever before. Launching a campaign to attract new donors, officials said no case of tainted blood transfusions had been registered for the past three years.

Guy Lévy, the director of the Red Cross' transfusion centre, said the risk of contracting Aids or hepatitis through blood transfusions was "very small". However, he said the risk was unlikely to be removed altogether because of the possible delay between the contraction of a disease and its detection.

Every year in Switzerland there are around half a million donations of blood. This is usually enough to meet needs, but shortages can be generated by seasonal factors, such as epidemics of influenza in the winter.

The launch of the Swiss campaign came as the World Health Organisation marked World Health Day with a warning about the risk of blood transfusions in the developing world.

In stark contrast to the situation in Switzerland, the WHO estimates that a fifth of all blood donations in the world's poorest countries are accepted without any medical screening. The Geneva-based organisation estimates that every year up to 160,000 people are infected with HIV, the virus which can lead to Aids, as a direct result of blood transfusions.

swissinfo with agencies





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