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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

 

     

Japanese woman dies after hepatitis B infection from tainted blood: report

Sat Aug 2, 7:19 PM ET

TOKYO (AFP) - A Japanese women died last June after being infected with hepatitis B from a tainted blood donor, a report said, adding to renewed concerns over laxity in the nation's blood screening process.

The cause of the woman's death could not be confirmed because she also suffered from a circulatory condition, but the Japanese Red Cross Society confirmed the virus in her blood genetically matched that of one of her donors, the top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun said.

 

"It is possible that the Red Cross' inadequate trace analysis and failure to inform the woman of the dangers resulted in delayed treatment," the paper said.

The woman underwent surgery in January 2002 free of hepatitis B, a sometimes deadly liver ailment, but fell ill with the disease in May and died a month later.

She had received blood from several donors, including a woman who called the Red Cross in April to say she had been informed by a hospital that she had contracted hepatitis B.

The Red Cross checked an earlier blood sample and failed to find the virus, ending its investigation, the paper said.

A second later test on the sample detected the virus. Doctors found it genetically matched the virus found in the dead woman.

Neither the Red Cross nor the health ministry could be reached for comment.

The revelation comes amid a crackdown by the health ministry on the Red Cross for failing to recall thousands of units of blood from donors who gave blood multiple times but only found out later they had a communicable disease.

In June, the ministry ordered the Red Cross to recall the possibly tainted blood products, because the donors' illnesses may have escaped detection in the early stages of infection in a so-called "window period."

 

The Red Cross reportedly said in late July that despite its efforts, some 6,400 units of potentially tainted blood had likely already been used.