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Published: Wednesday, 2/5/2003

No contaminants found in region's blood supply


A mysterious white substance found in donated blood in the southeast United States that prompted the blood to be quarantined has not been found in donated blood in northwest Ohio or southeast Michigan.

The Western Lake Erie Region of the American Red Cross serves 22 hospitals in 10 northwest Ohio counties and Monroe County. Judy Pearson, Western Lake Erie spokesman, said local Red Cross officials examined all blood in storage as well as blood distributed to area hospitals and all of it checked out fine.

A spokesman for the Great Lakes Region of the American Red Cross, which provides blood to hospitals in Hillsdale and Lenawee counties, said blood in his region also checked out fine.

Last week, Red Cross officials in Georgia noticed an unknown white substance floating in some bags of blood and pulled blood products off the shelf while they investigated. Blood is also being quarantined in parts of Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois.

Preliminary tests by federal investigators indicated the substance is not harmful or infectious.

Red Cross regions from other parts of the country, including northwest Ohio and Michigan, are shipping blood to affected regions to offset shortages there.

Ms. Pearson said local Red Cross officials sent 160 units of blood to Atlanta on Friday, and an additional 27 units on Monday.

She added that while blood supplies are stable locally, the public is being encouraged to donate blood to help reduce shortages in other parts of the country.

“If it's not needed here there are certainly regions experiencing temporary shortages while the blood in question is quarantined,” Ms. Pearson said.

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