Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Canada Prohibits ME/CFS Patients from Donating Blood

 2. XMRV Virus - Canada Prohibits ME/CFS Patients From Donating Blood

An AIDS-like virus, XMRV, that has been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome is causing Canadian blood officials to ban anyone who has suffered from the ailment from making donations. Canada is the first country in the world to make the move, which is being rolled out in donation centres nationwide over the coming weeks, says Dana Devine, head of medical and scientific research with the blood services agency. A study published last October in the prestigious journal Science suggested that XMRV was strongly associated with chronic fatigue. Lead study author Judy Mikovits said the virus had almost certainly entered the U.S. blood supply system, but did not know whether it would be susceptible to the same heat treatments that successfully kill off the AIDS virus in blood products. An estimated 340,000 Canadians are diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).
Joseph Hall, Torstar News Service, Hamilton Spectator
Related Links:
XMRV Virus - Threat To Blood Supply Probed
Amy Dockser Marcus, The Wall Street Journal
XMRV Virus Testing Available From WPI For UK ME/CFS Patients
Information Release, UK XMRV Virus Study
Detection of an Infectious Retrovirus, XMRV, in Blood Cells of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Judy A. Mikovits et al, 10.1126/science.1179052, Science Express

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I was a regular blood donor before I got sick.  In 1988, the virologist told me to stop donating.  When I passed this information along to the blood bank, at least a dozen volunteers reassured me that the only virus they tested for was AIDS, so if I didn't have that, I could donate.  So what if my virologist told me someone could get sick from my blood?  What did he know?  They needed blood and mine was a valuable type.
"Could" is not the same as "should", and I didn't want it on my conscience that I'd given someone else this horrible illness, so regardless that the blood bank's questionnaire wasn't going to screen me out, I stopped donating, no matter how big a guilt trip the blood bank laid on me.  Hmmm, someone dies without my blood or someone dies because of my blood?  All winds up looking pretty much the same.
I repeatedly asked to be taken off the list, and a month or so later I would nonetheless get another call begging me to come in and donate.
After several years of phone calls and refusals, I finally got off the blood bank list by moving to another county.
Sooooooo, if you need a blood transfusion, Be Afraid.  Be Very Afraid.  The US has probably guilted quite a few of my fellow patients into donating over the past quarter-century, and apparently still are not screening us out. 

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