British troops may have received contaminated blood from American donors

Thursday, January 10, 2008

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Several British troops who received blood transfusions from American emergency front-line donors face the risk of infectious diseases such as AIDS, the Ministry of Defence confirmed, but said risk of infection was low.

Eighteen troops who fought and were wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq are being tested for HIV as well as Chagas, Hepatitis B, HTLV and Syphilis.

The British military says that the unscreened transfusions were needed to keep the troops alive when they were receiving emergency treatment for their wounds.

The U.S. says that all of the donors have since been found not to be infected with HIV or hepatitis B, but does say that the donors did not receive the proper testing that is required for donating blood.

"These 18 service personnel would almost certainly have died without receiving an emergency blood transfusion at the front line. We are working with the appropriate health authorities to do all that we can to test and reassure the people involved. We continue to do all that we can to support them and their families through this uncertain time," said British Defense Minister, Derek Twigg.