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Red Cross apologizes

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Hamilton, Ontario

The Red Cross in Canada pleaded guilty this week to distributing blood tainted with HIV or hepatitis C. The blood was circulated in the 1980s, and the scandal has been called the worst public health disaster in Canada’s history. As a result of the error, more than 1,000 Canadians were believed to have been infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and as many as 20,000 others contracted hepatitis C. More than 3,000 of the victims have died. The Red Cross has already paid victims $70 million. In a deal with prosecutors, all criminal charges were dropped after the organization admitted it had been too slow to begin screening its blood supply.

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