Blood Donation Precautions Being Taken for SARS

The blood shortage in East Texas and around the nation remains critically low and now the SARS outbreak could make it worse.

The Stewart Blood Center will soon be deferring blood donors at risk for SARS, the so-called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The Food and Drug Administration yesterday set out the new guidelines for SARS.  For now, any potential donors who may have been exposed recently to SARS or have experienced acute SARS will be temporarily rejected, as will recent travellers to the affected countries.

"It's a precautionary measure.  We want the blood to be as safe as possible," says Fran Mooney with the Stewart Blood Center. "We will do these screening questions until the FDA says they are no longer required."

The number of places in the world on the list that would temporarily exclude people as blood donors keeps growing.

Already Stewart Blood Center has to defer 15% of East Texans wanting to donate blood. That's not including SARS.