5 November 2010
ME/CFS sufferers permanently deferred from giving blood
From 1 November 2010, people with Myalgic Encephalitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) were permanently deferred from giving blood in the UK.
The change to donor selection guidelines, which applied across all four UK Blood Services, was as a result of recommendations by the UK Blood Services Standing Advisory Committee on the Care and Selection of Donors, and Joint Professional Advisory Committee (JPAC).
In the past, donors with a history of ME/CFS could give blood, provided they had completely recovered and were feeling well.
However, as ME/CFS is a condition where people can relapse and become ill again, donor selection guidelines were changed as a precaution to protect the donor’s safety by ensuring the condition is not made worse by donating blood. There is no evidence that a donation from a donor with this condition could in any way harm a patient.
This change brought donor selection guidelines for ME/CFS into line with other conditions where individuals are permanently excluded from blood donation to protect their own health .
For further information, please contact the NHSBT press office on 0117 969 2444, at email@example.com or out of hours on 07659 133583.
Notes to Editors
- Donor selection guidelines relating to donor safety are recommended by the UK Blood Services Standing Advisory Committee on the Care and Selection of Donors, and Joint Professional Advisory Committee (JPAC)
- The change to donor selection guidelines for ME/CFS applies across all four UK Blood Services - NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) for England and North Wales; the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS); the Welsh Blood Service (WBS); and the Northern Ireland Blood Service (NIBTS)
- NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a Special Health Authority in the NHS. It is the organ donor organisation for the UK and is responsible for matching and allocating donated organs. Its remit also includes the provision of a reliable, efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England and North Wales
- In October 2009 a study from the United States suggested a link between the virus XMRV and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This was reviewed and discussed in the relevant advisory committees. Further studies by the Centres for Disease Control in the US and a number in Europe have failed to demonstrate a link between XMRV infection and CFS. Currently there is no epidemiological evidence of a link between XMRV and CFS in the UK. The research on XMRV has been considered by the relevant UK Blood Services/DH advisory committees; there is no current evidence of a threat to public health in the UK; and this will be kept under review by those committees in the light of any new evidence.