- NEW YORK -- Thousands of transfusion recipients in three cities are being
warned that they may have received blood improperly tested for the AIDS
virus and hepatitis.
- The notice comes more than a year after
two lab supervisors were convicted of tampering with blood tests at the
New York Blood Center, the nation's largest independent blood bank.
- Within the past month, the center has
notified recipients in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Memphis, Tenn., about potential
problems. New York area recipients were alerted two years ago.
- No viral infections have been linked
to blood used in transfusions in any of the cities from 1991 to 1996, center
officials said Wednesday, adding that the risk of infection was very low.
- "If we had thought there was a big
problem, we would have done something right away," said Dr. Robert
Jones, the center's president and chief executive.
- Chicago, Pittsburgh and Memphis had been
sending their blood samples to the Manhattan blood center for viral testing.
- Through newspaper and radio announcements,
the center is trying to reach an estimated 40,000 people who received blood
from June 1994 to December 1996 in Chicago-area hospitals. It issued a
public health announcement to transfusion recipients in Pittsburgh and
Memphis last month.
- In 1997, a man and woman who worked as
lab managers at the Manhattan center were convicted of taking shortcuts
on blood tests and then falsifying records to conceal their crimes.
- An investigation found that the shortcuts
affected tests for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HTLV, a virus that
has been associated with some types of leukemia.