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AIDS STILL IMPERILS BLOOD SUPPLY, MAGAZINE SAYS

SHARE AIDS STILL IMPERILS BLOOD SUPPLY, MAGAZINE SAYS

The quality of the nation's blood supply, while far improved, remains seriously flawed, U.S. News & World Report said in its current issue.

The magazine said it conducted a five-month investigation and found that AIDS remained a threat, with hundreds of HIV-contaminated units of blood evading tests and checkpoints every year.It also said that an estimated 4,200 hepatitis-tainted units a year slip into the blood supply, posing a risk of chronic liver disease to patients who get the blood. Blood banks know that more than 100,000 people may have received the blood, but have not alerted them, according to the magazine.

The article also said:

- The odds of an allergic reaction to a transfusion are as high as one in 25.

- Tests don't catch all strains of killer bacteria.

- Many patients who get bad blood are not told.

- "Recalls" typically take place months or years after suspect blood has been transfused, and about 90 percent of blood has already been transfused by the time of a recall.

According to the magazine, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration logged about 1,000 blood bank errors and accidents in the year ended September 30, 1989.

Three years later, the number had jumped to 10,456 and the following year the total was nearly 9,000. There has been no improvement since then, the report said.