Australian Red Cross Green Light 'Mad Cow' UK Blood Donors

After 20 year donation ban

Article heading image for Australian Red Cross Green Light 'Mad Cow' UK Blood Donors

Australian Red Cross have announced that people who were living in the UK during the ‘mad cow disease’ break out are now eligible to give blood.

People who were in the UK during the outbreak are now able to give blood in Australia from today which experts believe will contribute up to 58,000 more donations a year. 

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Executive Director of Donor Services Cath Stone said the move could see up to 18,000 more donors come forward.

“It’s taken some time; however, we’re so pleased our comprehensive review of the evidence and our risk modelling has found this rule is no longer required. It means that from today, we’re thrilled to welcome these newly eligible donors to our centres around the nation,”

- Cath Stone

“Our teams are in the process of contacting donors who have previously been unable to donate due to this rule. We’re fortunate to have one of the safest blood supplies in the world, and we’re continuing our focus to make it easier for all Australians to donate, while ensuring our blood supply remains safe for patients”.

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People who spent six months or more in the UK between 1980 and 1996 were barred from donating blood since December 2000.

Australian Red Cross made the decision as a precautionary measure to prevent people from acquiring Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, the human variant of Mad Cow Disease.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is fatal and can remain present in human blood for a number of years with no way to test potential carriers. 

The Australian Red Cross made the decision to remove the ban following a thorough risk assessment by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

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Georgie Marr

25 July 2022

Article by:

Georgie Marr

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