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December 3, 2009

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

City calls for blood in swine-flu war

SHANGHAI health authorities yesterday launched their latest drive in the fight against swine flu, calling on people who have been vaccinated against the virus to donate blood for emergency-treatment storage.

First in the queue will be 34 inoculated medical staff at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, who are expected to donate blood today.

City blood-collection authorities said that general donations were also welcome as supplies were low, particularly of types A and O.

According to experts, a person starts to produce antibodies three weeks after catching swine flu or two weeks after vaccination.

Blood from these people can then be used to treat patients seriously affected by the H1N1 virus.

"Using serum from vaccinated staff to treat serious cases is mentioned in a treatment guide issued by the Ministry of Health," said Dr Lu Hongzhou, a member of city's expert panel on swine-flu treatment - and one of the 34 expected donors.

"The technology is safe and we have used it on our patients with good results," Lu said.

Since carrying out vaccinations on the most at-risk groups of the population, such as medical staff, public servants and students and teachers at primary and middle schools, Shanghai has inoculated more than 800,000 people.

A total of 2.1 million people will be included in the vaccination plan, which has been expanded to university students and people aged 60 and over with local residency.

Zhu Yueguo, director of the Shanghai Blood Administration Office, said the city had fulfilled this year's initial target of collecting 80,000 liters, but demand in some areas was outweighing supply.

"Types A and O only cover 20 percent of the daily storage, while they should be 30 percent," Zhu said.

Zhu said so far the office had only taken blood from three people inoculated against swine flu and many more were needed.

By Monday, Shanghai had reported 2,074 incidents of swine flu, including 26 serious cases, since the first one was detected in May.

Two young girls were still in a critical condition in the city yesterday with swine flu, while a Shanghai boy, 6, was off the critical list and on the mend, officials from the Children's Hospital of Fudan University said.

A migrant girl, 3, from eastern China's Anhui Province and a Shanghai girl, 6, were still on respiratory machines, the hospital said.

The Anhui girl was showing stronger recovery signs, said Wang Yi, the hospital's vice president.

Since receiving the first child seriously sickened by swine flu on November 19, the hospital has treated nine patients and three of them have recovered.

"We haven't used vaccinated people's serum in treating our child patientsas yet," Wang said.


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