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Frequently Asked Questions: SARS

  1. Is SARS transmissible by blood?
  2. What is Canadian Blood Services doing to protect the blood supply against SARS?
  3. Can a donor acquire SARS from donating blood?
  4. Has Canadian Blood Services cancelled any clinics due to SARS?

1. Is SARS transmissible by blood?

There is no evidence of transmission through blood.

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2. What is Canadian Blood Services doing to protect the blood supply against SARS?

All prospective donors presenting at clinics are now questioned regarding travel history outside of Canada and the U.S. Donors who have travelled to Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, and China, including Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, are deferred for 14 days following the date of departure from the affected areas.

Prospective donors presenting at blood donation clinics in Canada who answer affirmatively when questioned about whether they have recently been in a quarantine-declared facility in Canada, are deferred for 14 days following their last visit.

Prospective donors are now being asked if in the past 14 days have they cared for, lived with, or had direct contact with body fluids of a person with SARS or suspected SARS. If the prospective donor answers “yes” to any part of the question, he or she is deferred for 14 days after last exposure.

Prospective donors who have been advised to place themselves under quarantine will be deferred until the time they are no longer considered to be at risk of acquiring SARS.

Beginning on May 26, prospective donors who have had SARS or suspected SARS will be deferred for 28 days after symptom resolution and cessation of treatment.

Canadian Blood Services will encourage donors to report SARS illness that occurs within 14 days after donation.

Canadian Blood Services will retrieve and/or quarantine the collected in-date units of whole blood and /or blood components and any unpooled units collected for further manufacturing from a donor who reports post-donation history of SARS

Along with these measures, Canadian Blood Services already has a number of built-in safety measures that protect the blood supply against SARS. Prospective donors attending clinics are asked if they are feeling well at the time of donation. Those who are not well are deferred. Canadian Blood Services also checks the temperature of each would-be donor before a donation. Any individual with a fever is deferred. In addition, donors are asked to contact Canadian Blood Services if they develop signs or symptoms of any illness within seven days of their donation. If they do, their blood donation is withdrawn.

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3. Can a donor acquire SARS from donating blood?

There is no risk of developing SARS from donating and Canadians should keep in mind that prospective donors with symptoms of any illness are not permitted to donate.

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4. Has Canadian Blood Services cancelled any clinics due to SARS?

Yes, a small number of clinics were cancelled because the sponsors did not want to go forward with the clinics.

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