Ebola virus: Blood donor screening tightened

Director of the Southern Area Blood Centre, Dr. Paul Mensah has indicated that even though testing of the Ebola virus could not be done at the blood bank, donor screening has been tightened.

The move, he said, was to ensure that no donor with suspicious symptoms walks in.

According to him, they are not relenting on their efforts and that they are on a high alert.

He told Joy News Monday that once a donor walks in to donate blood, he or she must be well and healthy and “that is one of the things that we are actually making sure that is happening now, because we cannot take any chances concerning that.“

He argued that there could be donors who maybe incubating in the 21-day period, and may not be symptomatic and “it is also true that at least, to date, no record of a transfusion and transmissible Ebola has been recorded yet in the world.”

He urged donors to be truthful in their answers to questions asked them during any blood donation exercise.

“We haven’t made any plans yet towards testing for blood because remember that not every lab can test for Ebola. You need special containment facilities and so on. Presently, in the country, only Noguchi is testing for Ebola so we cannot begin to test for Ebola everywhere else. Certainly, not in the blood bank,” Dr. Mensah pointed out.

He said since blood was always needed the call for voluntary donation would always be encouraged.

On his part, Dr. Badu Sarkodie, Head of Disease Surveillance at the Ghana Health Service, in his message for Ghanaians said: “for now; we are saying that there is no confirmed case in the country. The country has assessed and evaluated 37 suspected cases. All these have tested negative to Ebola; not only Ebola, on all other viral haemorrhagic fevers.”

To him, there was the need to stay on top of the issue, calling for total collaboration in the fight against the disease.

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