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Saturday 29th October 2016

Troops contaminated blood scare

10th January 2008

The Health Protection Agency has said that eighteen British troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan are being tested because the blood they were given had not undergone proper safety checks.


In addition, six UK civilian security contractors could also have been given contaminated blood.

The troops are being tested for HIV, hepatitis B and other diseases. The results of the tests are due back in early February. The troops involved had been stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001.

The blood was given in the form of emergency transfusions and was donated by US donors. The Ministry of Defence has admitted that "valid retrospective tests" were not performed "to screen them for diseases."

The MoD said the transfusions were absolutely necessary and the troops could have died if they had not received blood. It said it had contacted each of the troops and added that any army member who had concerns about transfusions they had received should get in touch with their GP.

Douglas Young, the chairman of the British Armed Forces Federation, told BBC Five Live that the tests were crucial after emergency transfusions.

"If the necessary testing couldn't take place before the blood was given at all, then clearly there should have been what is called retrospective testing, where the donors or the blood batches are checked to ensure there are no issues involved," he said.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said the MoD was considering the situation "very seriously."

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