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

Montreal, May 1, 2009 – 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 all Quebecers’ needs; provide and develop expertise along with specialized and innovative services and products in the fields of transfusion medicine and human tissue transplantation.
Give blood. Give life.

For more information:

Media Line | 514-832-0871