UK mad cow disease blood donation ban lifted in Australia after 22 years
Posted On April 29, 2022
Anyone who spent time in the United Kingdom in the 1980s and 1990s has been unable to donate their blood to Australian Red Cross Lifeblood – until now.
Australia’s medical regulator, the TGA, has lifted the ban which stemmed from concerns surrounding the UK’s mad cow disease epidemic during the two decades.
Almost 22 years ago, the TGA prohibited blood donations from people potentially affected by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease) in December 2000.
ABS statistics show that around 700,000 people in Australia who spent time in the UK during that period will now potentially be able to donate their blood, but not immediately.
The organisation will first need to update its donor screening processes to accommodate the change.
Lifeblood spokesperson Helen Walsh said the TGA is confident with their move to drop the ban.
“They’re confident that we can maintain a blood supply – a safe and secure blood supply – here in Australia,” she said.
The news has been warmly welcomed in Western Australia, as one in 10 people living in Perth were been born in England.
UK expat Helen Berry who lives in Perth said she’ll be lining up to donate as soon as she can.
“As soon as they’ve bought it online, yep I’ll be one of the first in the queue,” she said.