The Inland Northwest Blood Center (INBC) wants to ensure the safety and availability of the blood supply while protecting the health of our blood donors and of our employees. As you are probably aware, there has been an outbreak of Swine Influenza (Swine Flu), an H1N1 virus, in Mexico and in some areas of the US. INBC is closely monitoring the ongoing situation and is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.
The blood supply in the United States is safer today than ever before. Only volunteers are permitted to donate blood and there are no incentives of any value to give, other than the incentive to help save lives. Studies prove that community volunteers are the safest source of blood for the purpose of transfusion medicine.
The risk of disease transmission has been greatly reduced, and in some cases such as HIV, nearly eliminated due to multiple levels of safeguards including:
- Comprehensive evaluation of donors' medical and social history to exclude those who may be carriers of infectious agents.
- A mini-physical examination of the donor.
- Strict donation procedures using only sterile supplies.
- Laboratory disease testing of every unit of blood donated.
These procedures are followed by all blood centers nationwide and are monitored under the regulatory guidance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Upon every donation, the volunteer donor completes a health history questionnaire and screening interview to identify behaviors that may indicate a high risk for carrying blood borne diseases. Strict confidentiality, as well as the absence of incentives or pressure to donate, encourages honest answers resulting in the deferral of any potential donor with possible health risks.
Every time someone donates blood, the blood unit is tested for evidence of infectious disease including Hepatitis B and C, HIV, HTLV, Syphilis, and West Nile Virus (WNV). The donor's blood type is also determined. Any unit of blood that shows evidence of carrying a disease is discarded and the donor is deferred from subsequent donation.