Blood Donations in the US

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Blood Donations in the US

Post by Henrik on Fri May 21 2010, 22:51

An old school friend of mine in the US has just had brain surgery, and he is in need of numerous blood transfusions. In discussing this, I learnt that the Red Cross in the US will not accept blood donations from people who have lived in Europe due to fear of mad cow disease. Is this really true?

I can't believe this, and have never heard of anything as ridiculous before. I was just wondering if any of you guys have heard about this and can confirm if it is indeed the case.

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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by glendo on Sat May 22 2010, 00:30

it's the same down here in oz. if you were visiting UK or a resident in UK at a certain time. (between 1980-1996)
they dont have the technology available yet to reliably screen for Mad Cows disease, and that it takes a very long time to detect.
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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by TopContender on Sat May 22 2010, 02:18

It is true. I can't donate blood because I have traveled to Europe.
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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by Henrik on Sat May 22 2010, 13:00

Wow!

Looks to me like it is the US and Australia that is suffering from mad cow!

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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by Werner on Sat May 22 2010, 13:55

Creutzfeld-Jacob disease is one of the human variants of these spongiform encephalopathies. There have been cases with meningeal and even corneal transplants for this disease to be passed on to the recipients.

I will say about 5 10 years after the height of Mad-Cow (bovine variant spongiform encephalopathy, BSE), which had probably been fomenting in Great Britain for years, there were quite a few (100's?) of individuals in Great Britain that died of BSE. What was alarming was the rapid onset and relatively short incubation period when compared to all the human variants.
These people were infected from eating BSE contaminated meat. I remember shortly after graduating from Vet school there were 2 or 3 Canadians that died following visits to the UK.

All of these diseases, and there are a quite a few variants in other species with "Scrapies" in sheep probably being the best known, are caused by a specific cell membrane which has undergone a conformational change in its structure, and I think it is a change in only 1 subunit, and then are known as "prions". Prions are extremely nasty, they cause the change of there neighboring cell membrane proteins to transform into prions and so on and so on. When enough of this happens there is cell death in the brain and you get these big areas of vacualation, making these area look spongy in appearance.

Of course you get high concentrations of these prions in the nervous system including the periphery and in the internal organs and they can then infect people or other animals if eaten. That is why you can not get a T-bone steak anymore with the spinal cord present, they are all removed after slaughter.

These prions are extremely resistant to decomposition and it requires very high temperatures or chemical means to destroy them. It was thought they were species specific but the whole Mad Cow got started by feeding cattle small amounts of sheep offal which were infected with Scrapie. There was a change in Great Britain in the processing of sheep offal in which it did not have to undergo such vigorous heat treatment as previous thereby saving the processors a lot of money.

It is thought there are spontaneous prion transformations in most spongiform encephalopathies but probably quite rare.

In North American Elk, there is a form of this disease. And where the elk have been slaughtered and disposed of in certain areas, and then reintroduced years later (decades?), they spontaneously come down with it again. In these high endemic areas it is thought that the prions have remained infective in the environment for all that time.

So I guess the bottom line is that the North American blood services are not taking any chances especially after the huge payouts that were made at the height of the AIDS crisis.

Hope I did not bore you guys to death. Smile
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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by Henrik on Sun May 23 2010, 00:30

Not bored at all Werner, but in spite of the possible dangers of the BSE there are two important things to remember. One is that the number of people that have actually been diagnosed with the disease is extremely small. If compared to other diseases, such as listeria, you will find that there are some 500 people a year only in the US that die from it. The total global estimate of a few hundred over a number of years for BSE puts things in a different perspective.

The other is that it has not been conclusively proven that people did indeed contract BSE from eating infected meat. It has been assumed, but not totally proven.

Nevertheless, who the hell htough up the idea of giving meat to herbivores in the first place?

And in closing, I still find it totally and utterly absurd that they refuse to accept blood donations from people that have travelled to Europe. Perhaps they should also not allow Americans to travel to Europe, should the have an accident that will require them to receive a blood transfusion here. Can you imagine if they contracted mad cow disease?

P.S. It was also found that canibals in Borneo had contracted mad cow disease from eating each other.

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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by Werner on Mon May 24 2010, 00:50

Henrik wrote:

P.S. It was also found that canibals in Borneo had contracted mad cow disease from eating each other.

....each others' what???


did I just type that aloud? Embarassed
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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by eso on Mon May 24 2010, 05:44

I'm kind of late to this party.

They won't take my blood because of certain extracurricular activities in my youth. Every time my doctors want to do blood work I ask them to do a full hepatitis and STD screen while they're taking blood and they've been coming back clean for 20 years now.

They still don't want my blood.

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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by Henrik on Mon May 24 2010, 08:57

I suppose somebody thinks that they already have too much blood in the US and that they don't really need donors.

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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by pabs on Wed May 26 2010, 19:25

It's not EVERY person that has traveled to Europe that is banned from donating blood. There are some restrictions, yes, but I don't think they keep that many people from donating. I am a regular donor, by the way, and I don't see it as a problem.

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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by TopContender on Thu May 27 2010, 03:47

How do you qualify and I don't?
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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by Henrik on Thu May 27 2010, 07:36

Okay, I have done a bit of digging on the American Red Cross web site to find out more. Here is what is stated there:

You are not eligible to donate if:

From January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1996, you spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 3 months or more, in the United Kingdom (UK), or
From January 1, 1980, to present, you had a blood transfusion in any country(ies) in the (UK). The UK includes any of the countries listed below.

•Channel Islands
•England
•Falkland Islands
•Gibraltar
•Isle of Man
•Northern Ireland
•Scotland
•Wales
You were a member of the of the U.S. military, a civilian military employee, or a dependent of a member of the U.S. military who spent a total time of 6 months on or associated with a military base in any of the following areas during the specified time frames

•From 1980 through 1990 - Belgium, the Netherlands (Holland), or Germany
•From 1980 through 1996 - Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Italy or Greece.
You spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 5 years or more from January 1, 1980, to present, in any combination of country(ies) in Europe, including

•in the UK from 1980 through 1996 as listed above
•on or associated with military bases as described above, and
•in other countries in Europe as listed below:
◦Albania
◦Austria
◦Belgium
◦Bosnia/Herzegovina
◦Bulgaria
◦Croatia
◦Czech Republic
◦Denmark
◦Finland
◦France
◦Germany
◦Greece
◦Hungary
◦Ireland (Republic of)
◦Italy
◦Kosovo (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
◦Liechtenstein
◦Luxembourg
◦Macedonia
◦Montenegro (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
◦Netherlands (Holland)
◦Norway
◦Poland
◦Portugal
◦Romania
◦Serbia (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
◦Slovak Republic (Slovakia)
◦Slovenia
◦Spain
◦Sweden
◦Switzerland
◦Turkey
◦Yugoslavia (Federal Republic includes Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia)

So, if you have spent more than 5 years on Europe you can't give blood. Having just been over for vacation, even a few times, has no impact.

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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by Gelert on Sun May 30 2010, 21:48

Henrik wrote:Okay, I have done a bit of digging on the American Red Cross web site to find out more. Here is what is stated there:

You are not eligible to donate if:

From January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1996, you spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 3 months or more, in the United Kingdom (UK), or
From January 1, 1980, to present, you had a blood transfusion in any country(ies) in the (UK). The UK includes any of the countries listed below.

•Channel Islands
•England
•Falkland Islands
•Gibraltar
•Isle of Man
•Northern Ireland
•Scotland
•Wales
You were a member of the of the U.S. military, a civilian military employee, or a dependent of a member of the U.S. military who spent a total time of 6 months on or associated with a military base in any of the following areas during the specified time frames

•From 1980 through 1990 - Belgium, the Netherlands (Holland), or Germany
•From 1980 through 1996 - Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Italy or Greece.
You spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 5 years or more from January 1, 1980, to present, in any combination of country(ies) in Europe, including

•in the UK from 1980 through 1996 as listed above
•on or associated with military bases as described above, and
•in other countries in Europe as listed below:
◦Albania
◦Austria
◦Belgium
◦Bosnia/Herzegovina
◦Bulgaria
◦Croatia
◦Czech Republic
◦Denmark
◦Finland
◦France
◦Germany
◦Greece
◦Hungary
◦Ireland (Republic of)
◦Italy
◦Kosovo (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
◦Liechtenstein
◦Luxembourg
◦Macedonia
◦Montenegro (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
◦Netherlands (Holland)
◦Norway
◦Poland
◦Portugal
◦Romania
◦Serbia (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
◦Slovak Republic (Slovakia)
◦Slovenia
◦Spain
◦Sweden
◦Switzerland
◦Turkey
◦Yugoslavia (Federal Republic includes Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia)

So, if you have spent more than 5 years on Europe you can't give blood. Having just been over for vacation, even a few times, has no impact.

UK Website (http://www.blood.co.uk/can-i-give-blood/donor-health-check/) asks these questions:
Question 1: Are you aged between 17 and 65?
Question 2: Have you already given blood in the last 16 weeks?
Question 3: Have you got a chesty cough, sore throat or active cold sore?
Question 4: Are you pregnant or a woman with a baby less than 9 months old?
Question 5: Are you taking antibiotics NOW or have you finished taking them within the last 7 days?
Question 6: Have you had hepatitis or jaundice in the last 12 months?
Question 7: Have you had acupuncture, ear piercing, body piercing, tattooing or semi-permanent make-up in the last 4 months?
Question 8: Have you received blood since 1st January 1980?
Question 9: Have two or more members of your family (parent, brother, sister, child or other blood relation) suffered with CJD, variant CJD or other prion associated disorder?
Question 10: Please don’t give blood if you THINK you need a test for HIV or Hepatitis or if you have had sex in the past year with someone you think may be HIV positive or Hepatitis positive. Although the chances of infected blood getting past our screening tests is very small, our tests do not always show if you are infected. This is why we must take care in choosing donors and why you must not give blood if you are infected. We rely on your help and co-operation. Please answer the following questions carefully.
Are you HIV positive or do you think you might be HIV positive?
Question 11: Are you a carrier of the hepatitis B or C virus or do you think you might have hepatitis?
Question 12: Are you a man who has had oral or anal sex with another man (even if you used a condom)?
Question 13:Have you ever received payment for sex with money or drugs?
Question 14: Have you ever (even if it was a long time ago or only once) injected or been injected with drugs including body building drugs?
Question 15: Have you had sex during the last 12 months with someone who is, or may be, HIV positive, or a carrier of Hepatitis B or C?
Question 16: Have you had sex during the last 12 months with a man who has had oral or anal sex with another man?
Question 17: Have you had sex during the last 12 months with someone who has received payment for sex with money or drugs or someone who has injected drugs including body building drugs?
Question 18: Have you had sex during the last 12 months with someone who has been sexually active in parts of the world where AIDS/HIV is very common? This includes countries in Africa.
Question 19: Have you had a serious illness or a procedure in the past or are you on medication at present?
Question 20: Have you had complicated dental work (simple fillings and scale/polish are OK after 24 hours, simple extractions are OK after 7 days).
Question 21: Have you been in contact with an infectious disease or been given certain immunizations in the last 8 weeks?
Question 22: Are you presently on a hospital waiting list or undergoing medical tests?
Question 23: Have you been outside the UK (including business) in the last 12 months?
Question 24: Have you ever had malaria or an unexplained fever associated with travel?
Question 25: Have you ever stayed outside the UK for a continuous period of 6 months or more?
Question 26: Have you visited any malarious area in the last 12 months?
Question 27: Have you ever visited Central/South America for a period of 4 weeks or more?
Question 28: Is your name Helmut Marko?
Question 29: Are you blaming Mark Webber (http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/84052) and are about to destroy Red Bull sales in Australia?
Question 30: Are you drunk?
Question 31: Are you prepared to give blood involuntarily?
Question 32: Can I give blood if I live in the Malvinas, but not in the Falkland Islands?

Suspect

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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by eso on Sun May 30 2010, 22:42

Gelert wrote:
Henrik wrote:
You are not eligible to donate if:

Suspect

Gelert, Long time no see post. Welcome back

Where ya been?

eso
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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by gueuzeman on Mon May 31 2010, 15:31

I was thinking the same thing. Nice to see you, gelert.

And great info, werner.

I have always found the scrapie discussion to be quite interesting, as said- feed cows dead sheep, who the hell thought that was a good idea? Some actuarial accountant? Hard to believe any farmer thought of it.

.
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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by da silva on Mon May 31 2010, 22:25

I am ineligible. Woohoo!

Hey Gelert, good to see you back!
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Re: Blood Donations in the US

Post by Werner on Thu Jun 03 2010, 11:55

gueuzeman wrote:I was thinking the same thing. Nice to see you, gelert.

And great info, werner.

I have always found the scrapie discussion to be quite interesting, as said- feed cows dead sheep, who the hell thought that was a good idea? Some actuarial accountant? Hard to believe any farmer thought of it.

.

Well actually, feeding scrapie laced offal only got it started, it was feeding BSE tainted offal that really got it concentrated. That is feeding cows to cows.

Maybe there is a God.....
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