HIV-Positive Blood Mistakenly Used for Transfusions, Blood Products in Korea, Health Ministry Says
Blood that tested positive for HIV or hepatitis was used in transfusions and to make blood products because of errors made by the Korea National Red Cross, officials from the country's Ministry of Health and Welfare said on Thursday, the Korea Herald reports. A two-week investigation of blood donations made from 1994 to 2003 found that 1,205 cases were mislabeled as free from the diseases (Korea Herald, 7/23). Forty-seven HIV-positive blood samples were mislabeled as HIV-negative; 721 samples had hepatitis B; and 437 had hepatitis C. Two of the blood samples from HIV-positive people were used for transfusions. However, the two people who received the blood have tested HIV-negative, the ministry said (Yonhap News, 7/22). The ministry said it is continuing to test those who received tainted blood and will compensate individuals who may have contracted a disease through transfusions, according to the Korea Times. "We'll take punitive measures against those responsible for the huge mistakes," a ministry official said, adding, "[R]elated authorities will strengthen measures for blood control by introducing stricter checking systems and setting up an independent inspection body outside of the KNRC" (Rahn, Korea Times, 7/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.