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Mad cow - Queue — LiveJournal
August 14th, 2003
09:36 am

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Mad cow
I can't give blood. I lived in the UK in 1981 for a year, and you can't give blood if you've spent a total of 3 months in the UK since January 1, 1980. You also can't give blood if you've spent a total of 6 months in the UK and some other European countries. I didn't check the list, since I was already disqualified at that point. If you haven't given blood in a while, you may want to review the rules for donating if you decide to do it. I'm sure they're up on the Red Cross's Web site.

I guess I'm a little relieved that I won't be getting stuck with a needle, but I'm mostly disappointed. Is it really that much of a threat? Can they not screen for that kind of thing? It seems like this would severely cut their blood supply. I suppose they have something on their Web site about it, but I don't care enough about it to check.

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From:queue
Date:August 14th, 2003 06:52 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I knew about the sex thing, since I have a lot of bisexual friends who don't like the Red Cross because of this.

And if they kept track of who'd been screened, they'd know if your blood was safe, and then would only have to screen it again if you'd met one of their criteria since the last time you donated.

They couldn't not screen anyone's blood. Too easy for someone to lie and pass along blood infected with all sorts of nasties.
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From:queue
Date:August 14th, 2003 08:21 am (UTC)
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In looking more at the rules, you personally are only inelligible for 12 months after having contact with someone at higher risk. The men are inelligible for life, but the women the have sex with are not.
From:volta
Date:August 14th, 2003 08:57 am (UTC)
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You also can't donate blood if you've had sex with a man who's had sex with a man since 1977.

But, of course, it is fine to donate if you are another man who has had sex with that woman.
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From:theora
Date:August 14th, 2003 06:59 am (UTC)
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Did they give you a sticker anyway?
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From:queue
Date:August 14th, 2003 07:02 am (UTC)
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No.
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From:queue
Date:August 14th, 2003 07:01 am (UTC)

So I went and looked it up

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In some parts of the world, cattle can get an infectious, fatal brain disease called Mad Cow Disease. In these same locations, humans have started to get a new disease called variant Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease (vCJD) which is also a fatal brain disease. Scientists believe that vCJD is Mad Cow Disease that has somehow transferred to humans, possibly through the food chain.

There is no evidence that vCJD can be transmitted from donors to patients through transfusion. However, nobody knows for certain that this cannot happen, and animal studies indicate that it is theoretically possible. There is no test for vCJD in humans that could be used to screen blood donors and to protect the blood supply. This means that blood programs must take special precautions to keep vCJD out of the blood supply by avoiding collections from those who have been where this disease is found.
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From:bitty
Date:August 14th, 2003 07:04 am (UTC)

Re: So I went and looked it up

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I wonder whether they'd allow a vegetarian who'd been to the UK to donate.
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From:queue
Date:August 14th, 2003 07:06 am (UTC)

Re: So I went and looked it up

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I'm sure not.

That is the point where an informed person might decide to lie in order to be able to donate blood, as I know some people have suggested for getting around other Red Cross rules (or FDA rules, whatever).
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From:emotionalgoat
Date:August 14th, 2003 08:04 am (UTC)
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Ugh, I guess I'm a treasure trove of reasons to be kicked in the pants by the Red Cross. I've never even tried to give blood.

Plus, once I ate some beef in a English food restaurant in Germany that tasted like boiled rat. I hope my brain doesn't melt! Gawd, how long does it take for these things to kick in?
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From:hrafn
Date:August 14th, 2003 08:50 am (UTC)
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Whoa. Well, if you aer bound and determined to do so at some point, I'll bet they don't keep a list of ineligible names, so you could always lie the next time. Or, you know, MOOO! Moo! I tell you. Sorry. Something weird in the meatballs.
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From:pinkfish
Date:August 14th, 2003 07:32 pm (UTC)
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Its funny - when I read your first entry about planning to give blood, I was surprised. I thought that I didn't know anyone who could give blood. Having lived in Europe for many years (including England from 82-84), and being a man who has sex with men who have sex with men who have sex with men .... I am doubly disqualified. And many of the people I know have lived in Europe, and are the men I've had sex with, who have had sex with . . .

I've always been amazed that they can get any blood at all.

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From:magid
Date:August 14th, 2003 07:47 pm (UTC)
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Er, you know at least one.
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From:pinkfish
Date:August 15th, 2003 03:11 am (UTC)
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Of course, I realize intellectually that I must know any number of people who manage to avoid this obstacle course. But like many folks in these circles, you seem so cosmopolitan, that I just guessed that somewhere in your past, you had probably spent 3 months somewhere that would disqualify you (that isn't relly very long!)
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From:magid
Date:August 15th, 2003 05:47 am (UTC)
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I've spent years abroad, but obviously in the 'wrong' countries :-) (though there were temporary (=3 years) deferments for at least one of them) . I have been in England and France, but not enough to fill my quota for becoming a dangerous threat to our nation's blood supply.
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