The Australian Red Cross says it desperately needs O-negative blood. Picture: Supplied
The Australian Red Cross says it desperately needs O-negative blood. Picture: Supplied

Critical call for O-negative blood

THIS winter's cold and flu season has left the Australian Red Cross critically low on blood supplies with the service saying it only has about a day of O-negative blood left.

The service's Jennifer Campbell Case told the ABC that sick donors were cancelling their appointments, reducing the stocks of the universal blood type.

"Nationally about 1000 appointments are normally cancelled each day but over this cold and flu season it has spiked to 3000," she said. "That's unprecedented for us."

Ms Campbell Case said more than 500 Australians had already made appointments in the past 24 hours.

Only 9 per cent of people have O-negative blood and the service says it still needs 2500 people to donate in the next fortnight to boost supply.

"On the few occasions we have, stock levels have balanced themselves out again very rapidly because Australian blood donors are so generous,"

Australians are being hit by one of the worst flu seasons in years. Queensland in particular, which has had about 20,000 cases this year.

News Corp Australia

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