Red Cross Bars ME/CFS Patients From Blood Donations

THESE PATIENTS’ ADVOCACY HELPED TO MAKE THIS POSSIBLE!!  I was reading on the CFIDS Facebook page that two CFS patients, Rivka (the woman in the video below) and Keith Baker, who brought the issue to light on the Red Cross Facebook page, have been working hard on this issue.  They should be given a lot of credit for all of their hard work!!

The Red Cross made an announcment yesterday (Friday, 12/3/2010) that they are barring people who have a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome from donating blood to reduce the risk of transmitting XMRV.  The whole XMRV controversy has been going on now since October 2009 and while we still keep receiving conflicting reports from different studies, the Red Cross decided to bar people from donating blood “in the interest of patient and donor safety”. 

The Washington Post article appeared on Friday in The Checkup and you can also view the entire American Red Cross Statement on XMRV and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome press release below.

WASHINGTON, Friday, December 03, 2010 — At present, there are no specific federal recommendations regarding deferral of individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or other diseases that have been associated with Murine Leukemia Virus-related virus (XMRV) infection. Nevertheless, in the interest of patient and donor safety, the American Red Cross will defer indefinitely any donor who reveals during the donor interview that they have been diagnosed with CFS.
XMRV infection has been associated in some studies with prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome, but at the present time these disease associations have yet to be confirmed.

There is currently insufficient data to conclude that XMRV is transmitted through blood transfusion. However, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Task force is conducting research to determine the frequency of the virus in the donor population, whether it is transfusion-transmitted, and whether recipients become infected and develop the disease.

An AABB Interorganizational Task Force is charged with reviewing all available data, making recommendations for further action to assess the risk of XMRV transmission through blood transfusion, develop mitigation strategies as needed, and to provide information for blood donors, recipients and the public.

The AABB Taskforce released Association Bulletin #10-03 in June 2010, recommending that blood collecting organizations — through the use of donor education materials available at the donation site — actively discourage potential donors who have ever been diagnosed by a physician with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), from donating blood or blood components. In addition, any donor with symptoms of CFS would be deferred if, on the day of donation, they respond negatively to the question, “Are you feeling well today?”

The Red Cross has implemented the AABB recommendations and has gone further to implement indefinite deferral for donors who reveal a history of a medical diagnosis of CFS.

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  1. It irritates me that Europe (including the Germans and the Swiss!) uses Cerus Corporation’s Intercept system to eliminate from platelets the risk of XMRV and other viruses as well as other infectious agents. The FDA keeps putting off approval of Intercept in the USA, most likly because big pharmas need time to develop a competing product to Intercept. Were Intercept approved today it would very shortly become an industry standard in blood banking.

  2. I donate blood now. It saved my life. Give the gift of life! Please, donate blood. It may be your life that needs saved. You can visit the Red Cross for sign up locations and times!

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