Thursday, February 9, 2023

Disease threatens U.S. blood supply; increase in donations needed from U

August 30, 2001

Mad Cow disease is expected to take a toll on blood donations this year, and the American Red Cross is asking for students’ help.

Following the outbreaks of the disease in Europe, a blood shortage is expected because of precautions to prevent the disease from spreading into the United States.

“We will lose between six-to-eight percent this year because people who have traveled to the UK could have come in contact with the Mad Cow disease and not know it,” said Carol Lovelady, a donor recruitment representative for MSU with the American Red Cross, 1800 E. Grand River Ave. “Originally the Mad Cow disease was only in animals, but humans are contracting it and we are trying to prevent the spread of the disease.”

Donors will be weeded out through an application process to exclude those people who have traveled to Europe, including students who have recently studied abroad there. Many students will also be turned away if they have lived in Europe or any part of England for more than three months.

“The Mad Cow disease is a disease in the blood system and people cannot be tested for it currently,” Lovelady said. “As long as there is no way to test people we can not accept people’s blood. There is also no cure for the disease.”

Lovelady said 3,000 pints of blood are needed this year.

To make up for the loss of potential blood givers, the American Red Cross and MSU will have to work hard to get donors, she said.

Several blood drives for new and returning students on campus are already planned, beginning with one from 1 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Wednesday at the IM Sports-West.

This year the MSU and Penn State challenge, which occurs every year during football season, will kick off its first blood drive with a diversity drive aimed specifically at the minorities on campus.

“There will also be other drives during November, Greek Week, and ROTC will also be participating,” said Dave Bosman, a Red Cross volunteer and political theory junior.

Bosman has been a volunteer for the Red Cross for two years and encourages students to donate blood.

“Donating one pint of blood can save three people’s lives and students need to know how important it is to give blood,” he said.

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