June 14

Red Blood Cells
Photo Credit: By Redbloodcells.jpg: hematologist derivative work: patient-doc (Redbloodcells.jpg), via Wikimedia Commons

Science Fact

Blood Donations

Worldwide, people donate 88 million units of blood -- enough to fill 32 Olympic-sized swimming pools -- annually. However, that meets less than 60% of the 150 million units needed each year.

A single unit of blood may be divided into various components to meet the needs of multiple patients. These components include red cells concentrates, fresh frozen plasma, cryoprecipitates and platelet concentrates. Of donated blood, 91% collected in high-income countries, 72% in middle-income countries, and 31% in low-income countries is separated into blood components. More than 23 million units of blood components are given to patients in the United States alone every year.

World Blood Donor Day is celebrated annually on June 14 in memory of the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the Austrian doctor who first recognized the ABO blood grouping and who helped identify the Rhesus factor that combine to form the two most commonly used blood group systems. The 2017 theme for the event is "What Can You Do? Give Blood. Give Now. Give Often."

Learn more about blood with these Science NetLinks resources:

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