Returning soldiers can't donate blood - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Returning soldiers can't donate blood

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October 24, 2003

Albany-- A strange skin parasite caused by sand flies in the Iraqi desert is showing up in some soldiers.

It's rarely deadly, but soldiers home from the war in Iraq cannot give blood for one year. The disease is called Leishmaniasis. To prevent blood recipients from getting the disease, donations won't be accepted until 12 months after a solider leaves Iraq.

Cecelia Johnson with the Albany Red Cross says, "Leishmaniasis is a parasite the sand flies cause that. So we try to have the best quality product we can have. Sometimes we go a little overboard but that is okay."

In most cases, people don't even know they are sick until several weeks or months after they are infected.

Posted at 4:14 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com