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Norovirus outbreak over festive period triggers blood shortage


The NHS has made an urgent appeal for O Negative blood donors after the norovirus outbreak and the festive period caused a drop in donations.

The National Blood Service said it had increased stocks of the blood type before Christmas but high demand meant it was running low.

More than one millions people are believed to have been affected by the vomiting bug outbreak, which led several hospitals to close their doors before Christmas in a bid to contain its spread.

An NBS spokesman said: "Blood stocks can often dip around holiday time as people get distracted and can't always attend their sessions.

"In addition, the recent outbreak of norovirus has led to a dramatic increase in the number of people correctly cancelling their appointments.

"Non-attendance by O Negative donors increased by 50% just before New Year."

Donors with O Negative blood make up around 7% of the population and are known as the "universal donor" as their blood can safely be given to patients with a different blood group.

This can prove vital in an emergency situation where there may not be time for an immediate blood group testing to be carried out.