Australia Joins New Zealand in Banning CFS Blood Donation; Will EU Countries Follow Suit?

Canada decided recently to impose a lifetime ban on blood donations from ME/CFS patients – at least until more is known about the XMRV-ME/CFS relationship. And following this announcement:

New Zealand’s blood banks announced on April 21 that they plan to reject donations from people who report ever having been diagnosed with ME/CFS. Formerly they had excluded blood from patients who were still ill or had been diagnosed in the past two years. According to their records, 97 ME/CFS patients had been banned from donation in the past 11 years, and of those, 12 who were pronounced recovered have donated at least once. (To see the NZPA news release, click here.)

Australia’s Red Cross Blood Service announced on Apr 23 that it will not accept blood donations from those who’ve been diagnosed with CFS, and will review the decision in two years “when further studies into the [XMRV] virus have been done.” Previously, Australia’s blood service did not allow people diagnosed with ME/CFS to donate blood until they brought a letter from their treating physician stating “that they are completely recovered.” In the past two years, the service reports, it had taken more than 1 million blood donations and deferred donations of 70 people with CFS. (To see the news release, click here.)

European ME Alliance Calls for EU-wide ban. They have written to the health ministers & chief medical officers of all EU countries, suggesting they emulate the bans cited above. To read their message, click here.

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