Blood Donor Ban Lifted for Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
(Houston, Texas) – Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is excited to welcome more donors to help save lives! The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed a two-decade-long rule that previously deferred donors from donating blood for time spent in Europe due to concerns about transmitting a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) through blood transfusions.
Under the old rule, donors who traveled or lived in the United Kingdom for three months or more between 1980 and 1996 could not donate due to vCJD. In addition, donors who traveled or lived in Ireland and France for five years or more between 1980 and 2001 could not donate.
The FDA has now determined this is no longer a concern. An investigation showed no documented cases of vCJD being transmitted through a blood transfusion. Most individuals who were once deferred should now be eligible to donate blood as long they meet all other donor requirements. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center welcomes anyone who lived or traveled in the United Kingdom from 1980 through 1996 to give blood. Donors who lived or traveled in France and Ireland from 1980 through 2001 can also donate blood.
Most individuals who were once deferred should now be eligible to donate blood as long as they meet all other donor requirements.
“We are happy that scientific evidence has now shown that the deferral bans can be lifted and that the blood supply will remain safe,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Beth Hartwell at Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center. “It has taken us a bit of time to make the necessary changes, but we are ready to go now and wish to welcome this new group of potential donors to our Neighborhood Donor Centers and our blood drives,” said Hartwell.
Donors are invited to contact Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to update their records if they have a deferral or to schedule a donation. All military service members, their families, and veterans stationed in the United Kingdom and France are welcome to give blood and help save lives.
The need for blood donations is constant. Blood donations help to treat patients who have cancer and other illnesses that require emergency surgeries. Blood is also used to help those with compromised immune systems or who have suffered from traumatic injuries.
To find a location for donation or more information regarding donor eligibility, please visit giveblood.org.
Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is the sole provider of blood and blood components 24/7 to more than 170 hospitals and health care facilities in a 26-county Texas Gulf Coast region. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is a nonprofit organization accredited by the Food and Drug Administration. For more information or to help save lives, visit giveblood.org.