Blood ban – story in New Scientist, 14 October 2010

October 15, 2010

From New Scientist, 14 October 2010

People with ME  banned from giving blood in the UK

BLOOD transfusion services in the UK last week became the latest to ban people who have had ME or chronic fatigue syndrome from giving blood. NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), the body which oversees donations, says the ban protects people with ME from possible relapses after they have given blood.

Charles Shephard, medical adviser to UK charity the ME Association, backs the ban. But he suggests it could be linked to the recent finding that potentially harmful mouse leukaemia viruses are present in the blood of some people with ME. Shephard believes that the primary aim of the ban is precautionary, to stop donated blood becoming contaminated with the viruses, in case they later turn out to be problematic.

Sue Barnes, associate medical director of the NHSBT, says there is no evidence of a transfusion risk from the viruses, but that the UK transplant service would continue to monitor the situation.

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