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Rise in dengue cases puts pressure on blood banks

Need for blood platelets has gone up by 10 to 15 pc this year

BLOOD banks in the City are witnessing an increase in demand for blood platelets, courtesy the rise in Dengue cases.

In the last one-and-a-half months, the demand for blood platelets has shot up. 
Although the majority of platelets were required for dengue patients, a number of cancer patients also needed the blood component. 

According to Raju Chandrashekhar from the Karnataka Red Cross Blood Bank, the query for blood platelets has increased by 10 to15 per cent, this year.

At the Jayanagar Voluntary Blood Bank, the demand for blood platelets has seen a 50 per cent increase, corresponding to the rise in Dengue and viral fever cases. 

According to Dr Ankit, transfusion medicine consultant at the Rotary TTK Blood Bank, not too many more people have been affected by dengue this year, when compared to the number last year. 

“Demand for blood, for dengue and malaria patients, has increased. Hospitals are now asking for more platelets. In fact, we have received nearly 25 to 50 per cent more queries for blood platelets this year,” he said.

Normally, an adult would require 4 to 8 units of platelets. In children, the requirement would depend on his/her weight and age. 

Has the panic caused by H1N1 Influenza amongst people affected blood donation? 
Rotary TTK Blood Bank said that few people were coming forward to donate blood since the last couple of months. Dr Ankit said, “On an average, we organise about 20 to 25 blood donation camps and collect nearly 2000 blood donations. However, with the H1N1 scare, nearly 50 per cent of such camps have been cancelled. Awareness about blood donation has been quite good in the City. But due to H1N1 flu, people are scared to go to Hospital or meet the doctors.” 

Donors hesitant
Other blood banks haven’t noticed any dip in the number of blood donations. Lion’s Blood Bank said that although it has had to postpone one of its camps last week, the H1N1 scare hasn’t affected the donors’ flow. 

“People have been a little hesitant to donate blood, especially in the last 10 days. However, we have been conducting camps almost every alternate day, and the response has been fairly good,” said Raju Chandrashekhar.

(Published in Deccan Herald on 27th August, 2009)

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