JIS News

Jamaicans receiving blood at public health facilities can be assured that the supplies are malaria-free, as the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) has reported that so far, all units of blood collected for transfusion purposes have tested negative for the disease.
“We are all very happy about that because we have been very proactive as we do not want any transmission of malaria by blood,” said Dr. Lundie Richards, Director of the NBTS.
He told JIS News that from the onset of the malaria outbreak in early December, the Blood Bank had put plans in place to prevent transmission of the disease by blood transfusion. “First of all, persons who had any fever or flu-like illness within a month of coming to donate blood, they are deferred. We also take samples to have them tested for malaria,” he pointed out.
“If the persons have no symptoms at all and they are from the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew and are donating at the University Hospital of West Indies, the National Chest Hospital blood collection centre and the Blood Bank, then all the units are tested for malaria,” Dr. Richards added.
The blood collected is also tested for HIV, human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV), hepatitis B and C and syphilis.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Health is encouraging all persons to take responsibility for their own health and heed to the precautions against malaria.
Persons should continue using insect repellent containing the compound Deet and wear protective clothing such as long sleeved shirts, long pants and socks. As mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours, persons are encouraged to wear light coloured clothing.
Persons are also advised to visit their doctor or health facility if they have any of the following symptoms – fever, chills, vomiting, headaches and muscle pains.

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