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vCJD Travel Deferral

Variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD) is a neurodegenerative disease that occurs in people with a mean age under 30.

Deferral Policies for vCJD

The Canadian Blood Services deferral policy for vCJD is the following:

People are not eligible to donate blood or plasma if they have spent a cumulative total of three months or more in the United Kingdom (U.K.) between 1980, and 1996, or if they have spent a cumulative total of three months or more in France between 1980, and 1996, or if they have spent a cumulative total of five years or more in Western Europe outside the U.K. or France since 1980. In addition, people are not eligible to donate blood or plasma if they have had a blood transfusion or have received medical treatment with a product made from blood in the U.K., France or Western Europe since 1980.

Western Europe includes:

Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Republic of Ireland, Netherlands, Austria, Liechtenstien, Portugal, Denmark

The U.K. includes:

England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, Wales, Channel Islands

Why was this policy introduced?

This policy was introduced to address concerns regarding variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (variant CJD). Variant CJD is sometimes called the human equivalent of “mad cow” disease.

Annual Review of Policy

When the vCJD deferral policy was introduced in 1999, Canadian Blood Services said it would review it annually in consultation with Health Canada and Héma-Québec, and potentially revise it as appropriate.

1999
Canadian Blood Services introduced its first deferral policy for vCJD in 1999, and announced that people could no longer donate blood if they had spent six months or more in the U.K. since 1980.

2000
The vCJD deferral policy was expanded in 2000 to include people who had spent six months or more in France since 1980.

2001
The vCJD deferral policy was further revised in 2001.

2005
The vCJD deferral policy was further revised in August 2005.

If you think this policy may apply to you, please do not decide on your own to stop donating blood or plasma. You should contact the staff at your nearest Canadian Blood Services location or call 1 888 2 DONATE.

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