Australia Officially Bans People Who Have had CFS From Blood Donation

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ESME facebook - Australia considers ME/CFS blood

This was posted on the European society for ME on facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/ESME-European-Society-for-ME/326113349124

This is the article, from The Australian
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/viral-link-to-chronic-fatigue-sparks-blood-donor-review/story-fn3dxity-1225856015325

Viral link to chronic fatigue sparks blood donor review
By Danny Rose From: AAP April 20, 2010 3:10PM

AUSTRALIA'S Red Cross Blood Service is reviewing its donation guidelines following Canada's move to halt donations from people who have ever had chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

Canadian authorities took the precautionary step earlier this month, based on US research that linked CFS to a recently identified virus (XMRV) which would be transmissible via infected blood.

Australia's blood service is conducting its own risk analysis, and it says existing donor guidelines require people with CFS to defer giving blood until they make a full recovery.

"We are aware of recent developments in Canada," the Australian Red Cross Blood Service said today.



"We are undertaking our own risk analysis to assess what action, if any, should be taken."

The blood service said it takes more than 500,000 blood donations each year, but only 70 donors with CFS had been deferred in the past two years.

It was standard practice to defer all potential donors who were unwell, and in the case of people with CFS they needed written advice from their GP before they could be accepted as a donor.

"The blood service currently defers donors who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (and) before we can accept their blood again, they need to bring us a letter from their treating physician advising us that they are completely recovered," the statement said.

The Canadian ban on CFS sufferers donating blood is for their lifetime out of concern any viral cause of their CFS could be spread.

XMRV (Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) was first detected in prostate tumours in 2006, and there is now conflicting evidence surrounding a link to CFS.

Late last year, a US study of blood samples taken from 101 people with CFS found 95 per cent also showed evidence of XMRV infection but following studies have not produced the same results.
 

Megan

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See announcement from Australian Red Cross 23rd April

http://www.donateblood.com.au/news-detail.aspx?IDDataTreeMenu=33&ID=390


Blood Service updates CFS donor policy


23.4.2010The Australian Red Cross Blood Service will indefinitely defer donors who have been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

This follows recent research, describing a possible link between chronic fatigue, and a retrovirus called Xenotropic Murine leukaemia virus-related Virus (XMRV).

As the Blood Service currently defers donors who have CFS, this change will delay their return to donating until there is more scientific literature on the possible viral link.

The number one priority of the Blood Service remains the safety of Australias blood supply.

Blood Service specialist, Dr Tony Keller, said eligibility to donate is always a balance between risk and benefit.

There is at present no test available for CFS or XMRV, but our donor questionnaire alerts us when someone has CFS. Very few donors will be affected by this decision, Dr Keller said.

The science on this internationally is unclear. The recent North American research findings havent been supported by research undertaken in Europe, and there is currently no Australian research on XMRV.

We will review our decision in two years time, when further studies into the virus have been done.

The Blood Service currently has 570,000 donors a year. In the past two years, there have been only 70 donors deferred due to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

We are writing to a small number of donors to notify them of this change.
 

Megan

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What I am wondering about all this is whether these blood banks are just 6 months slow in catching up with the 'Science' article or whether they know something we don't?

Having said that I wonder if this is all more a PR exercise than anything, especially if blood products are now treated for killing viruses. From a public health point of view I would think the spread of XMRV via sex or other means (I hope not!) would be a far greater concern.

I also wonder how effective it would be as I have always refrained from donating blood since having CFS 'in case I had something'. I was recently astonished to find my mother who has Fibromyalgia (no CFS) had donated for 20 years throughout this time! It seems to me that people like her, and healthy people with XMRV are probably a far greater threat to the blood bank, as unlike us CFS people they have had less reason to suspect they might have something infectious.
 
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Thanks Megan

So guys, when is the rest of the world going to pull their finger out? (Translation - Do the same)

Perhaps Mikovit's talk to the Haematology society made a difference?
 

RustyJ

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Major Aussie TV network picks up Blood Bank ban

This may be of more interest to Australian MEers. Sunrise on Channel 7 had a short news item on the CFS Blood Bank ban. Seemed pretty balanced, though they did refer to a "virus" rather than "retrovirus". I wonder when the other shoe will drop.
 

Gavman

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you need to be on disability allowance to prove CFS is the problem don't you? The fact that only a stupid small letter from an immunologist or specialist will prove you have it.
I gave blood. Buggered if they knew i had CFS. Its not like its taken very seriously in Australia.
 

heapsreal

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Agree with u plus alot of people with undiagnosed cfs probably donating blood thinking they are doing a good thing. Maybe we need to advertise as a big group of cfs/me patients that we are all going to donate blood and possibly infect the blood supple with a retrovirus unless the government pull their finger out and sort some sort of testing and treatment out.

cheers!!!
 

eric_s

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you need to be on disability allowance to prove CFS is the problem don't you? The fact that only a stupid small letter from an immunologist or specialist will prove you have it.
I gave blood. Buggered if they knew i had CFS. Its not like its taken very seriously in Australia.
Did you really give blood? And then, did you tell them about it? Did they destroy it again? I'm not sure if i understand what you say correctly.