Stricter blood donor guidelines in effect May 31

Stricter blood donor guidelines in effect May 31


The Northern Illinois Blood Bank (NIBB) will be faced with yet another challenge after an FDA-mandated deferral policy goes into effect May 31. The Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines are being implemented to protect the blood supply against the theoretical risk of mad cow disease and focus mainly on European travel. These restrictions, combined with an increased usage of blood because of an aging population, may cause a national shortfall of about one million donations of blood by the end of 2002.

The following restrictions will become effective May 31 by the FDA. People who meet one or more will not be eligible to donate blood:

l If you visited or lived in Europe for a total of five years or more between 1980 and present;

l If you have visited or lived in the United Kingdom for a total of three months or more between 1980 and 1996;

l If you received a blood transfusion in the UK between 1980 and the present;

l Military personnel (current and former), and their dependents, who spent time in military bases in northern Europe during 1980-1990, or southern Europe during 1980-1996, for six months or more.

Red blood cells have a 42-day shelf life and platelets only five days, so the supply must constantly be replaced. People can donate blood every 56 days, or every eight weeks—up to six times annually. Platelets collected through apheresis can be given 24 times a year.

The Northern Illinois Blood Bank is the sole supplier of blood and related services to Rockford Memorial, OSF Saint Anthony, SwedishAmerican, Northwest Suburban Community, Rochelle Community, Harvard Memorial, Freeport Health Network and Beloit Memorial hospitals. Community-minded volunteers donate virtually all of this country’s supply of blood for transfusion.

For more information, contact the Northern Illinois Blood Bank at 815-975-8751 or toll free at 866-889-9073.

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