NZ blood products safe so far

09:20 AEST Sat Mar 10 2012

New stocks of a blood product will be distributed to New Zealand hospitals during the weekend, following a contamination scare in Australia.

Traces of ethylene glycol were detected by CSL Biotherapies in some batches of albumin, a blood product used in highly specialised circumstances, like intensive care, in hospitals on both sides of the Tasman.

The contamination was detected during routine checks. Ethylene glycol is a coolant used in manufacturing equipment.

New Zealand's Ministry of Health says the fault at CSL is likely to have happened between December 2011 and January 2012.

Testing undertaken so far suggests albumin products in routine use in New Zealand have not been contaminated.

Chief medical officer Don Mackie says new stocks of the most commonly used form of albumin arrived in New Zealand on Friday night and will be distributed to hospitals as soon as possible.

The new shipment, along with the latest testing, means it should be possible to ensure products given to New Zealand patients continue to be free from contamination until testing is completed.

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