New guidelines remove some exclusions, limits for blood donations

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – New federal guidelines have expanded the eligibility of people who can donate blood.

With the new guidelines, Kentucky Blood Center recently implemented changes to donor eligibility criteria related to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (“mad cow”), malaria and human immunodeficiency virus.

“We are pleased the FDA advised these changes and hope it will allow more individuals to donate critically needed blood products to help their fellow Kentuckians,” said Dr. Dennis Williams, KBC’s medical director. “We know many loyal blood donors have been unable to donate for a very long time and are looking forward to saving lives again.”

The new blood donation criteria cover three primary areas:

  • Deferrals are lifted for those who have spent time in areas of Europe or on European military bases, as some of these countries are no longer considered a risk of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) or variant CJD, also known as “Mad Cow Disease.”

o   There are two exceptions: An indefinite deferral will remain for those who lived in Ireland or France for 5 years or more cumulatively in the period from 1980 to 2001. An indefinite deferral also remains for persons who lived in the United Kingdom for three months or more cumulatively in the period from 1980 to 1996.

  • Deferrals for certain prospective donors have been reduced from 12 months to 3 months, including:

o   Men who have sexual contact with other men

o   Blood transfusion recipients

o   Accidental blood exposures

o   Tattoos and body piercings not from a state-regulated establishment

  • Deferrals reduced from 12 months to 3 months for those who have traveled to malaria-risk areas.

Individuals who were previously given a permanent deferral by Kentucky Blood Center for military, or European travel or received a 12-month deferral listed above which should be reduced, will need to complete a Request for Eligibility Review and await further instruction from KBC before coming to donate.

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