Arkansans donate blood amid shortage driven by influenza

MGN

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansans are stepping up to fill a decline in blood donors due to the rising number of flu cases in the state.

Television station KTHV reports that dozens of blood donors appeared on Saturday to donate blood to the Arkansas Blood Institute. The donors helped to supplement the state's blood supply after many people who regularly give blood at churches and schools became ill with influenza and were unable to make donations.

Officials say the institute is currently meeting demand but that maintaining an inventory has become a concern. The group provides blood for all of central Arkansas and 42 hospitals across the state.

The Arkansas Health Department says 122 people have died from flu-related illness in the state so far this season - the highest number in two decades.