Food and Drug Administration, Florida State to Look Into Procedures at Blood Bank
July 22, 2002
Federal and state authorities are investigating how two people became infected with HIV after receiving tainted transfusions from Florida Blood Services (FBS), the Tampa Bay Area's primary blood bank. The US Food and Drug Administration will look into FBS' procedures, including the handling and testing of blood. The Florida Department of Health will determine how the bad blood was transmitted and whether anyone else is at risk.
Health officials have asked FBS for records and blood samples. They stress that the blood supply is safe and that the risk of contracting HIV through transfusions is extraordinarily rare. "The risk of transmission is very, very low, but it's not zero," said Tom Liberti, chief of the bureau of HIV/AIDS for the Department of Health. "It's safer than at any other time in history."
FBS said Thursday that two people were infected with HIV after they received blood transfusions from a donor whose disease went undetected because he or she had been infected only a short time before giving blood. The donor gave blood five times in Pinellas County. Dr. German Leparc, medical director for Florida Blood Services, declined to identify the people infected, the donor or the hospitals that transfused the blood. Leparc said the recipients received the blood at hospitals in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. One infected person is a young adult; the other is in his or her mid-60s. FBS notified the Pinellas County Health Department and the FDA Wednesday, hours after telling the two recipients they had tested HIV-positive.
The agencies declined to talk about the specifics of their investigations. On Friday, the state sent an action plan to Pinellas County Health Department, which will do much of the investigative work in the next 30 days, Liberti said. The FDA, which regulates blood banks and inspects them every two years, will likely send a team to Florida to do a follow-up inspection. The CDC has also volunteered to help.
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.