Blood Donations and Mad Cow Disease.

Information from the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood.

Donating blood if you have lived in the UK.

Lifeblood currently can’t take blood donations from people who lived in the UK, for six months or more, from 1 January 1980 to 31 December 1996.

This is due to the Mad Cow disease that occurred at the time.

The UK, in this context, refers to England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Falkland Islands.

However, this might change later in 2022.

A statement from says:
Following a review of the latest medical evidence, Lifeblood has prepared a submission proposing a change to the wait times for donors currently unable to donate blood due to living or visiting the UK during the vCJD risk period.
Our submission is currently being reviewed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

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Mad Cow Disease, is also linked to these names:

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

vCJD is a fatal disease that affects the brain. It has a long incubation period and some people who become infected may not show symptoms for 10 years or more. It is linked to eating products from cows infected with BSE, and a small number of people contracted vCJD through blood transfusions in the UK.

At its peak in the UK, there were about 1,000 cases of BSE per week.

A BBC report in 2019 stated:

Since 1996, 177 people have died from vCJD, while over four million cows were destroyed to prevent the spread of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

Scientists say more cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) are still to emerge more than three decades after the “mad cow disease” scandal.

In 2014, a report by a committee of MPs said tens of thousands of people could be “silent” carriers of the prions that cause the disease.

The report stated that blood transfusions were a potential source of transmission.

Australia was not affected by BSE and remains BSE free.

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