Influenza A (H1N1) - Héma-Québec prepares for possible pandemic

    MONTREAL, May 1 /CNW Telbec/ - Héma-Québec-Québec's blood products
supplier-is preparing for an influenza A (H1N1) pandemic in order to reduce
the impact on donors, personnel, and volunteers.
    Héma-Québec is monitoring the situation on an ongoing basis, in tandem
with provincial and federal health authorities and the World Health
Organization (WHO). A contingency plan has been implemented in response to the
phase 5 alert issued by the WHO. Accordingly, Héma-Québec has taken the
necessary measures to increase its blood products inventory in the coming
weeks. To do so, objectives have been increased for planned blood drives and
additional blood drives have been scheduled. The telephone recruitment team
will thus be contacting donors and inviting them to join Héma-Québec's effort.

    Safety measures

    Safety measures to ensure the safety of the blood supply and the
selection criteria for blood donors remain unchanged. Anyone with questions
about giving blood may call Donor Services at 1-800-847-2525.
    Flu viruses-including the influenza A (H1N1) virus-cannot be spread
through blood transfusions. To date, there have been no reported cases of flu
infection through blood transfusion.
    Héma-Québec would like to remind the public that blood is still needed
every day and that there is no risk of contracting a disease by donating
blood. All of the materials used for collecting blood are new, sterile,
sealed, and used once. Furthermore, each donated unit of blood is
systematically analyzed and screened for blood-borne diseases before it is
delivered to hospitals.

    About Héma-Québec

    Héma-Québec aims to efficiently provide adequate quantities of safe,
optimal blood components, substitutes, human tissues and cord blood to meet
the needs of all Quebecers; provide and develop expertise along with
specialized and innovative services and products in the fields of transfusion
medicine and human tissue transplantation.
    Héma-Québec is 1,300 employees, some 2,000 blood drives and more than
300,000 blood donors every year, 16,000 partner volunteers and more than
450,000 blood products delivered to hospitals in Quebec annually to fulfill
the needs of patients.

    Give blood. Give life.

For further information:

For further information: Valérie Legault, Information Officer, (514)
832-0871,,; Source: Laurent
Paul Ménard, External Communications Director

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